Scott Morrison urges for ‘upgrade’ to US-Australian alliance as China’s tariffs hit hard –

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison has insisted Australia and the US need to drastically ramp-up their economic and military partnership as the two countries move forward.

Speaking at the Australian American leadership dialogue on Wednesday, Mr Morrison declared the US had “no stronger partner” than Australia in preserving the liberal world order amid China’s rising influence.

“In Australia, the US has no stronger partner today in defending the values and its institutional pillars of what was created by a remarkable generation of American leaders,” Mr Morrison said.

The Prime Minister’s comments come amid increasing tense relations with the world’s other major power, China, which recently slapped tariffs on several key Aussie industries.

“Unlike the Cold War, geostrategic competition in the coming decades will be engaged in the economic realm,” Mr Morrison told the leadership dialogue meeting.

“Our recent experience with economic coercion underlines that.”

Mr Morrison emphasised the strength and importance of the Australian-US alliance, stating Australia was “deeply committed” to the partnership as the “foundation of our security and our prosperity.”

Moving forward, the Prime Minister insisted Australia and the US needed to strengthen and increase their economic and military partnership.

Mr Morrison urged the US to “upgrade” its trade partnership with Australia, telling Mr Biden to consider regular strategic economic dialogues between the two countries, and to work alongside Australia “to deal with the reform of the World Trade Organisation.”

The Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement is one of the strongest trade partnerships in the world, with 96 per cent of all Australian exports to the US being tariff-free.

However, the US currently makes up just 5.3 per cent of Australian exports. Meanwhile, China makes up approximately 30.6 per cent.

Mr Morrison also implored the US to continue to build on the recent surge in US-Australian joint military activities.

“Our defence co-operation is strengthened and accelerated, as has Australia‘s own defence rebuild”, he said

“We are undertaking the biggest regeneration of our navy since the Second World War.”

The PM applauded the recent Talisman Sabre military exercise, in which almost 14,000 personnel from the US and Australia along with contingents from Japan and Korea, New Zealand, Canada and the UK training together across Queensland.

And Mr Morrison was not shy about disclosing the true strategic objective of the military exercise.

“There were a few spectators out there not too far away looking on,” the PM said.

“We’re investing our wealth and treasure to make Australia stronger so we can be ready to defend our nation and a rules-based order in our region – a world that favours freedom and to be able to do so alongside who share our values and beliefs: most significantly, the United States.”