Australia-China Relations post 1949: Sixty Years of Trade by Yi Wang

By Yi Wang

This ebook demanding situations the typical perceptions of Australian dependence upon great-power allies within the behavior of its overseas family members via a serious exam of Australia's relatives with the People's Republic of China. the writer makes a speciality of the commercial and political dimensions of the policy-making strategy from the founding of the PRC in 1949 to the current period, opposed to an analytical framework that takes under consideration either inner and exterior elements within the formula and implementation of Australian overseas coverage. educated by way of political technology and diplomacy, the booklet differs from the normal literature on Sino-Australian family, which has both enthusiastic about natural fiscal research or targeting chronicling old occasions. the writer weaves theoretical insights from political technology and diplomacy into the historic research whereas trying to learn the interaction among political and fiscal elements through the years in shaping coverage results. The ebook attracts not just on basic and secondary assets but additionally on info and insights acquired from interviews with an unlimited array of direct contributors within the coverage procedure, together with just about all the previous ambassadors from either China and Australia, overlaying the complete interval of the diplomatic dating. for that reason, the publication breaks new flooring, in particular from the Hawke period onwards, revealing hitherto neglected information of curiosity within the coverage technique.

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This factor was behind the Australian decision not to follow the example of Britain, which recognized the PRC early in 1950. However, the achievement of the US security commitment did not come about without some hard bargaining between Australia and the United States over a peace treaty with Japan. Out of its strategic interest to contain communist forces in Asia, the United States decided in the early 1950s to conclude a peace treaty with Japan aimed at developing the latter into an anti-communist stronghold in the Asia-Pacific area.

In the post-war era, however, the Australian economy had been plagued persistently by current account deficits and mounting foreign debts, due partly to the deteriorating terms of trade for primary products that had constituted the staple The pre-recognition period (1949–1972) 27 of Australia’s exports. In the decade 1953–63, for instance, the terms of trade for Australia declined from an index of 100 to 68 (Albinski 1965: 250). To arrest this trend, both the government and the business community stressed the need to increase exports and expand overseas markets.

In 1958, for example, the United States slashed the quota on Australian lead and zinc imports. The United States also maintained a heavy duty against Australian wool, and discriminated against the import of meat and cheese. Another more pertinent example was the implementation of Public Law 480, whereby the United States disposed of its surplus wheat production as aid to developing countries by waiving the requirement for hard currency payments. Such a practice (in part reminiscent of the later Export Enhancement Program) tended to threaten Australia’s own potential markets for wheat exports.

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