New book explores Australia-Asia resource links

April 18, 2013

Boyer Prize winner Dr Jeffrey Wilson of Murdoch University’s Asia Research Centre has published a new book unravelling the complexities of resource interdependence in the Asia-Pacific region.

Governing Global Production: Resource Networks in the Asia-Pacific Steel Industry has been published by Palgrave Macmillan and explores the expansion of Asian steel industries and their impact on mining industries in countries around the Pacific Rim, including Australia.

“The book looks at the highly integrated production networks that have arisen between North-East Asian countries in need of mineral resources and resource suppliers such as Australia, Brazil and Canada,” Dr Wilson said.

“Steel has underpinned rapid industrialisation and high-speed growth in Asia, most notably China, while regional resource production networks have acted as a major driver of economic integration in the broader Asia-Pacific.

“Yet, because they are transnational, the operation of these resource production networks is complex. Determining who is in control and how decisions are being made is often difficult to pinpoint.

“I’ve traced their origins, the major players, key areas and some of the recent controversies that have occurred, including the rise of Chinese economic power and the Stern Hu Affair.”

Dr Wilson said given its importance to the Australian economy, understanding how the mining industry is connected to Asian partners was vital for business and government.

“If you look at the frenzy of debate that took place last year when iron ore prices fell last October, you realise that there are gaps in our understanding of how Australia is economically tied to Asia through resource trade,” he said.

“The book also provides insight on the deepening Australia-China economic relationship, and how resource interdependence has been a major – if often controversial – driver of bilateral economic ties.”

Dr Wilson is a Fellow of the Asia Research Centre and is recognised as a world authority on resource security in the Asia-Pacific, and Australia’s economic ties with North-East Asia.

He is also a participant in the First Murdoch Commission, an independent international inquiry on the growing economic interdependence of Western Australia, Australia and the wider Asian region.

The Commission held their second meeting in Jakarta last week and expects to release findings in December 2013.

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