The federal government has published a report flagging the need to diversify the export industry to lower supply chain risks without once referencing trade tensions with China.
A joint trade committee has recommended Australia should diversify its exports into other countries and limit exposure to foreign economies which threaten Australia's interests and national security.
Despite recommending the government and intelligence agencies take steps to prevent foreign interference in relation to trade and investment, it does not flag the recent souring relations with China which has slapped a number of crippling tariffs on Australian exporters.
"The committee recommends that the Australian government, including intelligence agencies, take steps to increase industry awareness of national security and national interest risks in relation to trade and investment, particularly for sensitive and critical sectors," recommendation six reads.
The strategy also hinges on diversifying into India and other south-east Asian nations such as Vietnam.
The government is taking "a targeted approach to assisting business seeking to diversify," the report says, and is "actively reviewing" supply chain risks and vulnerabilities.
The spat with the nation's largest trading partner is widely understood to have begun after Australia led calls for the establishment of an international investigation into the origins of COVID-19.
China has applied tariffs on wine, barley, beef, seafood and certain resources, with the Chinese Ministry of Commerce claiming some Australian exporters have been dumping product to drive down prices.
Australia has taken the anti-dumping allegation to the World Trade Organization in regards to the wine industry, which saw tariffs of more than 200 per cent on imports into China.
The committee report also notes Australia should increase its domestic manufacturing capabilities for critical industries such the medical, food and beverage, defence and space industries.
China is referenced within the report twice: once in relation to the current Australia-China free-trade agreement and a second time regarding the importance of students learning Asian languages.
In one recommendation, the committee says the federal government needs to investigate whether the 99-year lease of the Port of Darwin to a Chinese company is a sovereignty risk and whether it should be revoked in the national interest.
It is understood foreign relations laws do not cover the acquisition of the port as it controlled by a private company and not a government-owned entity.
"The lease arrangement associated with the Port of Darwin is not within the scope of the Foreign Arrangements Scheme," the report states.
"The scheme is focused on state and territory arrangements with foreign governments and does not cover arrangements with corporations that operate on a commercial basis.
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