Australian Trade Minister Craig Emerson said that Canberra was positioning itself to reap benefits from Asia’s rise.
Emerson said that the government was undertaking a review of the sweeping financial changes taking place, particularly the rise of new economic Czars like China and India to ensure that benefits flowed into the country.
He revealed that a white paper ‘Australia in the Asian Century’ was being formulated to review the opportunities and implications of the new rise of Asian nations.
His comments come after Prime Minister Julia Gillard had said that Australia was studying re-balancing of global wealth and power taking place to ‘define our future’.
“Australia is well positioned to benefit from the Asian century because of good management and visionary leadership,” he said, brushing aside suggestions there was an edge of nervousness about China’s rising power.
“I don’t accept that (there’s nervousness),”Emerson said, adding, “With the rise of economic power comes broader responsibility.”
He also said that he was not worried about increasing foreign ownership of Australian resources.
The foreign review board screening process was ‘reasonable’ and provided a good balance, the minister said.
The white paper will consider the current and future course of economic, political and strategic change in Asia, including China, India Japan, Korea and the major ASEAN nations.
It will examine the political and strategic implications of these changes for Australia and seek to identify key challenges and opportunities.
The white paper appears to be an effort by Gillard to put her own stamp on foreign policy, an area she confessed a lack of “passion’ about last year, while at a summit in Europe.