Executive summary

  • At the centre of the new economic and political realities that shape the Asia- Pacific region is the relationship between China and the United States, Australia’s respective principal trade partner and long-standing security guarantor.
  • Australia needs to adapt to new market forces in the international economy in order to escape the resource curse.
  • Despite the changing dynamics of the region and the potential rivalries that may exist, Australia must ensure its national interests continue to be advanced.

Australia is caught between two worlds. On one hand, it has the opportunity to take advantage of Asia’s rise and integrate with Asian economies in order to guarantee its inclusion in the region’s rapid growth. On the other hand, it faces a series of challenges. Asian economies are developing with great speed and promise. Adapting to changing market complementarity and escaping the resource-curse will be crucial to Australia ‘fitting in’. To avoid ‘falling out’ with the rest of the region, the country’s economic and geostrategic commitments must be carefully balanced. Managing these competing factors is essential to Australia’s continued prosperity for the first half of the 21st century. Developing the ability to think independently about what might actually be in the long-term interests of Australia is pivotal to the future of Australia’s prosperity and integration with the Asian region.