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International affairs

China must become integral part of global financial system: State of the Nation 2014

China must participate more in the global financial system to ensure stability domestically and globally, Lowy Institute G20 Studies Centre Director, Mike Callaghan has told CEDA's State of the Nation conference in Canberra.

"We have a financial stability board by definition trying to ensure stability in the global financial system, what I'm advocating is China should be playing an active role to have a degree of ownership in this forum," he said.

Mr Callaghan said three of the five largest banks in the world are Chinese but they are not considered important in the global financial system.

"But in China part of the reforms that are underway is it's going global, their institutions are reaching out…the more they deregulate the more they integrated into the global economy," he said.

The world will be better off if China is more actively involved in the global system, especially because the reality is the next global financial crisis could well be centred on the Chinese economy, he said.

On the topic of a free trade agreement with China Austrade CEO Bruce Gosper said Australian agriculture and services will benefit.

"You will see some very important improvements for our agricultural exports…and we'll see improvements in the services sector as well," he said.

Mr Gosper said the free trade agreement with China will give Australia a competitive advantage.

"It will put us ahead of other countries, no other developed economies except for New Zealand have been able to develop something with China," he said.

Integrating into regional value chains is also important for Australian businesses wanting to capitalise on the growth of Asian economies, he said.

"Regional and global value chains are increasingly important for Australian business," he said.

"Particularly manufacturing but other Australian business as well, if they want to prosper then they have to find place in those value chains."   

On the topic of Australians working in Asia, CPA Australia Commercial Chief Operating Officer, Adam Awty said their influence in the region is likely to dissipate over time as countries invest in domestic education institutions and professional organisations.

Mr Awty said although Australians have enjoyed senior roles domestically this is likely to change.

"If we want to move into senior roles, they will need to be regional ready as many of those roles will be regionally based," he said.

"While Australian professionals have enjoyed significant leadership positions in Australia, the reality is our complacency and lack of appreciation for just how much the axis of economic power is shifting to Asia could well be our biggest barrier to integration."