The trade relationship between Australia and Japan in the mid-1980s is rich and https://espace.library.uq.edu.au/js/fckeditor/editor/images/spacer.gifcomplex, representing 40 years of close, largely cooperative and generally beneficial postwar economic exchange. Japan is Australia's most important trading partner, several Australian States depend on trade with Japan to support their major industries, and Japan's rapid economic growth in the 1960s led to a boom in Australia-Japan trade, principally in mineral ores. This trade is mutually important; Australia has been, since before World War II, a vital supplier of resources to Japan -- initially wool, later coal and iron ore, and other metals and ores. The growth and prosperity of many Japanese industries have relied heavily on the reliable and stable supply of low-cost and high-quality raw materials from Australia.
The bilateral trade relationship was founded on strong and clear comparative advantage, Australia primarily the supplier of food and resources, and Japan the processor and manufacturer. Steadily growing goodwill between business and governments was also important: for a decade after the war official attitudes in Australia still reflected wartime enmities, but thereafter an infrastructure of political cooperation and ideological compatibility developed that still stands in the 1980s.
This book will examine how trade with Japan re-emerged from the disruption and hatred of the war years to become a burgeoning force in cementing bilateral relations. How were the barriers bridged and ties re-established after the 1941-45 war intervened in Australia-Japan trade? What mechanisms were responsible for re-establishing trade links? Why did Australia take until 1957 to agree to formal trade arrangements with Japan, when from the very beginning of the peace Japan was wanting Australian wool and Australia was wanting Japanese silk and other goods? How did a trade policy towards Japan develop independently of Great Britain, when Australia was all along linked to Britain financially through sterling and to sterling area approaches to international trade?
How did Australia adjust to the needs of the American-controlled Occupation of Japan? How was Australia influenced by the difficult mixture in the early postwar world of pressures for liberalisation and reform in the international economy, contrasted with restrictions and controls placed by many countries (such as Australia) on trade relations with Japan? What brought the Australian Government to the point of agreeing to deal constructively with Japan, and to dismantle trade barriers? Why did Japan have a vital interest in trying to make Australia change its policies? .........................