CANBERRA - Australia needs to shift its trade focus from traditional partners such as the United States and Britain in favor of emerging economies such as China and India, according to an economic report released on Thursday.
A report from the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) has said in light of recent protectionist attitudes from the US and Britain in the midst of Brexit, Australia should turn its focus to more open economies such as China.
CEDA's policy committee chairman, Professor Rodney Maddock said Australia was too committed to its "traditional" trading partners and should focus on the "substantial" opportunities offered by Asian nations.
"With concerns about trade barriers stemming from Brexit and the Trump presidency, Australia should focus on engagement with its immediate region where growth opportunities are substantial," Maddock said.
"There is a significant opportunity for Australian outbound investment in distribution systems for chilled and fresh foods in Asia, which remain poor.
"There are significant emerging markets with an exploding middle-class, demanding higher quality products and services. This represents a huge opportunity for Australia."
Maddock added that there were misconceptions about local benefits of outbound investment, but said it could deliver "significant economic benefits" through investment in exports.
"In reality, (offshore investment) can deliver significant economic benefits to the Australian economy and in fact create jobs both here in Australia and abroad," Maddock said.
"The lifting of trade barriers and integration of Australia into the global market-place has resulted in the biggest increase in our living standards in our history."