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5 - Australia and China: Towards a Strategic Partnership?

from Part 2 - Relationships

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 May 2024

James Cotton
Affiliation:
University of New South Wales, Sydney
John Ravenhill
Affiliation:
Australian National University, Canberra
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Summary

The period 2001–05 represents a landmark in Australia–China relations. During these years, the bilateral relationship deepened and broadened to an extent that few observers had foreseen. The foundation of the burgeoning relationship was undoubtedly the enormous expansion of trade. By 2005 China had emerged as Australia’s second-ranking trading partner and replaced the USA as Australia’s second largest merchandise export market. Bilateral trade continued to grow strongly, driven by China’s booming economy and its surging demand for Australia’s energy and mineral resources. In May 2005 the two countries began negotiations on a free trade agreement that, if concluded, would further bind the two economies. Underpinned by strong trade ties, bilateral political, security, and cultural relations also strengthened and broadened significantly. These were marked by increasingly frequent high-level visits in both directions, institutionalised dialogues on political, defence, and security issues, and greater people-to-people contacts. During the period under review both sides sought to elevate the relationship to a ‘strategic’ level.

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Chapter
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Australia in World Affairs 2001–2005
Trading on Alliance Security
, pp. 76 - 94
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
First published in: 2024

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