Opinion: Australia’s trade negotiating strategy fundamentally flawed

October 23, 2014

Murdoch University Provost Professor Ann CaplingTen years on from the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement, Australia is entering another round of negotiations towards the new and controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership. The Conversation Australia website is running a Free Trade Scorecard series of articles, that review Australian trade policy over the years and where we stand today on the brink of a number of significant new trade deals.

In this piece, Murdoch University Provost Professor Ann Capling and Professor John Ravenhill, Director of the Balsillie School of International Affairs and Professor of Political Science at the University of Waterloo, draw on research prepared for a 2014 workshop titled “Ten Years since the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement: Where to for Australia’s Trade Policy?” (Sponsored by the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia and Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, UNSW Australia).

Professors Capling and Ravenhill use Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s fable of the stag and the hare to position their argument, a fable often used to demonstrate the problems involved in sustaining international cooperation for international relations students.

They examine Australia’s role in trade agreements in the last decade, arguing that Australia has jumped on board the bandwagon of preferential trade agreements with seemingly an ever-growing enthusiasm. However given the country’s limited coin in international trade negotiations, the benefits of these agreements have been modest at best.

Read the full article on The Conversation website.

Other opinion pieces in The Conversation Australia’s Free Trade Scorecard series include commentary from Murdoch Academics, Adjunct Professor Anna George in her article titled A decade on, is the Australia-US FTA fit for the 21st century?, and a piece titled It’s time to fix the free trade bungle on the cost of medicines by Adjunct Professor Luigi Palombi.

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Media contact: Jane McNamara
Tel: (08) 9360 2985  |  Mobile: 0418 391 124  |  Email: j.mcnamara@murdoch.edu.au
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