Perth and Shanghai have developed dramatically in recent decades, and former premier Colin Barnett says a strong relationship between WA and China has enabled the state’s success.
The rise of Asia in the 21st century will be the biggest trade, investment, social and cultural opportunity for Western Australians. We are fortunate to be the Australian state that is located closest geographically to Asia and in the same time zone with our largest trading partners.
The Western Australian Government, knowing the shift in the world’s economic centre to Asia this century for Western Australians’ future prosperity, recently released Western Australia’s Asian Engagement Strategy 2019 – 2030.
The facts speak for themselves. Our State’s merchandise exports to Asia increased more than five times from $24 billion to $129 billion between 2004 and 2018. Asia now accounts for about 70% of international students and about 50% of international visitors to Western Australia. Investment from Asia also accounts for a substantial portion of inbound foreign investments to Western Australia.
But this huge Asian potential for Western Australia belies even greater changes in Asia that are taking place this century. Asia is on course to account for 50% of the world’s GDP and 40% of the world’s consumption by 2040. Within this seismic shift, Asian countries, while highly diverse, are integrating among themselves faster than anyone expected.
52% of Asia’s trade today is already intra-regional, compared to 41% for NAFTA. This suggests that supply chains in Asia will become even shorter and more importantly, located within the region. The recent commitment of 15 Asian countries including Australia to implement the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will drive this integration further. The burgeoning middle classes in Asia will also be more demanding and sophisticated, with the purchasing power to pay for high quality goods and services, and travelling more within the Asian region.
The rise and integration of Asia is a golden opportunity for Western Australia to grow and diversify our economy, and become even more integrated with Asia through trade, investments, cultural and people-to-people links.
For Western Australia, the time is now and the place is Asia.