Can Dan Tehan repair Australia’s fractured relationship with China?

Can Dan Tehan repair Australia’s fractured relationship with China? article image

Former diplomat Dan Tehan will be sworn in this week as Australia’s new Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment.

Mr Tehan takes on the portfolio as trade tensions with China, our largest trading partner, continue to escalate.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says Mr Tehan brings “incredibly strong credentials” to the portfolio, “as well as a keen sense of the particular interests of regional and rural Australia in open, rules-based trading systems”.

Mr Tehan, who has impressed the PM in his recent role as Minister for Education, has been elevated to the Trade portfolio in the recent ministerial reshuffle, triggered by the departure of long-serving Finance Minister, Mathias Cormann.

Mr Cormann has quit politics to run for the secretary general’s position at the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Alan Tudge, the Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure, has been appointed as the Minister for Education and Youth.

Senator Simon Birmingham, who has done an outstanding job as Minister for Trade and Tourism in an extremely challenging year, has been promoted to the Finance portfolio.

Call for calm

As the trade war with China reaches boiling point, Senator Birmingham has called for Australia to maintain “a sense of calm” as exporters seek to access other markets and pursue other opportunities.

In recent weeks China has imposed substantial duties on key Australian exports including barley and wine.

Senator Birmingham says Australia must remain consistent in the message we send to China.

“We value the partnership with them and we want to actually sit down and resolve these issues to enable our exporters and businesses to get back to business.”

Dan Tehan now faces the daunting task of repairing Australia’s vital trading relationship with the world’s second largest economy.

Mr Tehan’s trade credentials are indeed impressive.

Australia’s relationship with the world has been “an enduring interest and passion of mine,” he said in recent statement.

Australia’s prosperity built on trade

Mr Tehan has held key roles with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which he joined as a university graduate in 1995 and rose through the ranks to become a senior diplomat.

He also served as a senior adviser to the Trade Minister and as director of trade policy and international affairs at the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Mr Tehan says Australia’s prosperity has been built on trade and our future relies on it.

“Trade creates jobs, drives innovation and underpins our economic growth.

“International capital helps us to finance new industries, enhance existing industries, invest in infrastructure and grow our economy.

“Investment by other nations in Australia also helps boost our exports by driving innovation and technological advancement. Investment by Australian companies overseas provides similar benefits at home and abroad.

“I will engage, listen and work tirelessly to advance Australia’s trade interests.

“I have always strived to engage constructively with all nations, and this will be the approach I will continue to take.”


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