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New beginnings: Rethinking business and trade in an era of strategic clarity and rolling disruption

By John Coyne, Gill Savage and Michael Shoebridge

This special report considers the relationship between our business and trade positioning in the context of the impacts of Covid, natural disasters and the actions of coercive trading partners.

Global economic integration has enabled the spread of ideas, products, people and investment at never before seen speed. International free trade has been a goal of policy-makers and academics for generations, allowing and fostering innovation and growth. We saw the mechanism shudder in 2008 when the movement of money faltered; the disruption brought about by COVID-19 has seen a much more multi-dimensional failure of the systems by which we share and move. The unstoppable conveyor belt of our global supply chain has ground to a halt. This time, what will we learn?

ASPI’s latest research identifies factors that have led to the erosion of Australia’s policy and planning capacity, while detailing the strengths of our national responses to recent crises. The authors recommend an overhaul of our current business and trade policy settings, with a view to building an ‘agenda that invests in what we’re good at and what we need, values what we have and builds the future we want.’

The authors examine the vulnerabilities in Australia’s national security, resilience and sovereignty in relation to supply chains and the intersection of the corporate sector and government. To protect Australia’s business interests and national sovereignty, the report highlights recent paradigm shifts in geopolitics, whereby economic and trade priorities are increasingly relevant to the national security discussion.