International trade and industry policies
This paper surveys the contributions of economists since the 1960s to our understanding of AustraliaÂ’s evolving production and trade pattern and to the policies affecting it. Changes in comparative advantage only partly explain the trade pattern. Much of the residual explanation has to do with Federal Government policies and their reform since the early 1970s. Attention here focuses on manufacturing tariffs and other trade policies, and on trade-related sectoral/industry assistance policies. The recent policy reforms have not been unrelated to developments in the multilateral trading system (and, as part of that, in the Asia Pacific Economic Forum), so contributions by Australian economists to those developments are also briefly reviewed. The survey concludes by reflecting on the influence economists have had in shaping AustraliaÂ’s trade and trade-related policy reforms since the 1960s.
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