Trade Without Trust

By Institute for Integrated Economic Research Australia

Trade without Trust – Submission to the Parliament of Australia,

Joint Standing Committee on Trade and Investment Growth Inquiry into Diversifying Australia’s Trade and Investment Profile, September 2020

Over the past decade we have seen our trade and investment profile evolve without any apparent system-wide analysis of resulting risks and vulnerabilities. In pursuit of the lowest cost we are incurring a very high price in terms of our sovereignty and resilience; one which we are yet to fully understand. We have, in effect, left our resilience, and therefore our sovereignty and security, to the largely foreign-owned market. A market in which we do not trust many of the nations we trade with today.

If we are to maintain an acceptable balance between our sovereignty, security and economic wellbeing, then we must recognise firstly that economic over-dependence on any one country in terms of exports or imports is a risk to our sovereignty and security. Secondly, the behaviours of a number of countries during the early stages of the pandemic, means that our blind faith in the largely foreign-owned market to meet all of our needs in a crisis, without taking precautionary measures such as stockholding, is foolhardy.