Interesting piece on the Lowy Institute blog by Katherine Ellena, NZ-China: Is integration becoming dependence?. One stat stood out. China has replaced Australia as New Zealand's biggest trading partner.
So what's so strange with that? Just think about it for a moment. The Australian and New Zealand economies have a high degree of economic integration. In these circumstances, it's normal for trade to reflect that. So a shift like that that is quite significant.
Putting this in Australian domestic terms, while I haven't looked at the WA stats, I suspect that China is now more important in economic terms to WA than is the rest of Australia. That, too, is a pretty big change.
Back in the 1980s Aymever, my then consulting group, forecast that the different parts of Australia would become economically and even politically integrated in very different ways with other parts of the world. Our interest at the time was what that might mean for Australian economic and political activity.
The change has been slower to happen than we projected. Still, the issue remains. What does it mean to a country when the economic interests of various parts of the country diverge to the point that external influences are far more important than the connections to the rest?
This isn't actually new. What is new is the scale. Just a thought.