As we watch and wait to see whether the newly ensconced United States President will go through with his threat to pull the trigger on what will be an almighty and irreparable trade war with China, something incredible is quietly unfolding between China and Australia and every Australian stands to benefit.
If someone had told Darren Minter two years ago to plant more citrus, he would've laughed and walked away. But now the Mildura farmer has used the surge in exports to China, Japan and South Korea following the Free Trade Agreements to buy another 100 acres and expand his business.
Andrew Robb, the man who negotiated the Trans-Pacific Partnership for Australia, has called for regional leaders to pressure the US into ratifying the trade pact by first turning their focus to securing a rival multilateral agreement championed by Beijing.
This shift has significantly broadened the Coalition’s voting base within middle Australia. And this movement overwhelmingly comes from workers and their families – Howard’s “battlers”.
The future security and prosperity of Australia is reliant on sensible engagement with Asia. The country must learn to be more welcoming towards Chinese foreign investment, just as it has been to investment from other countries for the last two centuries.
ARGUABLY, Australia’s most recent past trade and investment minister has disproved his own career advice. After just 2½ years in the role, there’s no doubt Andrew Robb has left a lasting impression on Australian trade.