Neither Asia nor America

IPE in Australia

Authored by: J. C. Sharman

Routledge Handbook of International Political Economy (IPE)

Print publication date:  February  2009
Online publication date:  June  2009

Print ISBN: 9780415771269
eBook ISBN: 9780203881569
Adobe ISBN: 9781135984014

10.4324/9780203881569.ch13

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Abstract

Since the early 1970s, Australia has directed its foreign security and economic policies toward the United States and Asia, alternating only between the relative emphasis placed on Asian export markets and the military relationship with Washington. In 1973 Britain had entered the European Common Market, sounding the death-knell for the system of imperial trade preferences that had underpinned a large proportion of Australia’s foreign trade. Australia’s foreign economic relations have undergone a halting realignment toward Asia; at first to Japan, and now by way of the Chinese-driven minerals boom. From time to time Australian governments have sought to match the close economic ties with Asia with closer security and cultural relations. Despite the launch of regional initiatives like Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC), however, these efforts have borne little fruit. Under the conservative government that was in power from 1996 until late 2007, Australia emphasized its dependence on the United States. Australia contributed troops to wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq from 2001 and 2003 to the present. The government has been a consistent supporter of US diplomacy, rejecting the Kyoto protocol, studiously avoiding complaints about the treatment of its citizens in Guantanamo Bay, and concluding a preferential trade agreement with the United States in 2004.

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