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Trade Policies in Australia: A History and their Globalization

Updated on June 14, 2017
Public Domain Image from NASA
Public Domain Image from NASA | Source


Australia enacted a law concerning the National Competition of 1906, which was inspired by the “Sherman of Anti-Trust Act of 1890”. It is called the “Australian Preservation Act of 1906”. It states some limitations to the trade and commerce such as the prohibition of “monopolizations” and “combinations.” Monopolization and combinations are connected of taking control of an individual industry. Therefore, protection was given to those Australian industries once destroyed because of unfair competition in order them to rebuild. However, during 1910, a constitutional power greatly reduced the scope of this act. It turns out to be that the act is not applied until the mid-1960. Although the federal government tried several times to find some ways to solve the problems regarding the limitation of the scope, they are still unsuccessful.

During the 1970’s economic reforms have reduced tariff protections and increased import quotas, removing many barriers to foreign competition. At the same time, new Trade Practices Act was passed that doesn’t allow any anticompetitive product. There are some main changes of the act in the year 1977. Tougher provisions were added such as tightened anti-monopolization policies, price-fixing agreements, and exclusive dealing provisions were widened to deal with the restrictions required by seller or buyers.

During the 1980’s, Australia became more aware of the importance of competition. Because of competition, many companies became more dynamic, flexible and efficient. The policies regarding the prohibition of anti-competition remained as the basic approach but there are some changes occurred during 1980’s. For example, the provisions were extended to other overseas mergers during the year of 1986.

During 1990’s New Zealand and Australia achieve a free trade without any exception of goods between the two of them. Since the two countries both believe that the competition will lead them to globalization. Aside from that, Australia continued to remove some barriers regarding foreign trading but not that much compared during 1970’s and 80’s, which resulted in increasing the value of imports and exports.

From 9 countries of 1901, the number of trading partners increased and became 27 countries from 1970-71, but became 30 nations in 2000-01. Although the increase of trading partners is not that much, it has an important reason behind. That is indeed for easier access of between sources and destinations.

Australia has the relatively high dependence on exports and imports. Large and efficient service sectors were created. Both of them resulted from opening its doors to the international market and believing in the importance of competition which creates flexibility, efficiency, and complexity of the industry. It also creates such organizations like the World Trade Organization to assist and promote good sectors of the international industry.

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