Regional development

State of the Nation: Regional stability and peace crucial to economic prosperity

The Federal Government is focused on foreign investment, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Steven Ciobo has told CEDA’s State of the Nation conference.

“Foreign investment is good for Australia, we want to encourage foreign investment, and it is going to be an ongoing benefit to our nation to maintain it,” he said.

“We haven’t adjusted the rules around foreign investment but we are seeking instead to be in a strong position to enforce the rules.”

Discussing trade and the ASEAN region, Mr Ciobo said stability and peace are important.

“We consider stability to be crucial and we consider the links between economic prosperity and peace to be absolute,” he said.

Mr Ciobo said Australia needs to have a mixed role in the region, and reaffirm its commitment to regional prosperity.

Also discussing trade and conflict on the panel session, Australian National University Australian Research Council Future Fellow, Dr Susan Harris Rimmer said trade is an ancient source of diplomacy but can cause conflict.

“MIKTA (Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, Turkey, Australia) is going to be really important,” she said.

“Julie Bishop has entered a serious amount of political capital into the MIKTA enterprise.

“It’s those middle economies who have the greatest stake in the rules of global governance working for us all.”

Dr Harris Rimmer said multilateral organisations but agreements such as the G20 and World Trade Organization are important for economic governance and should be the focus.

This will be especially important when China hosts the G20 in 2017, she said.

On the G20, ITS Global Managing Director, Alan Oxley said it has become more of a “talk shop”.

“I don’t consider the G20 to be a particularly valuable institution and I don’t think it actually delivers all that much,” he said.

Mr Oxley said regional trade agreements are beneficial and multilateral organisations such as ASEAN are struggling to implement agreements.

“I disagree fundamentally that these regional trade agreements are a problem, they are actually the answer, particularly the bigger ones,” he said.

“The range of agreements that we are entering into now are actually ultimately pointing us to a huge agreement which is among all APEC economies, that basis for that now being laid in the two regional agreements.”