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Australia 'should go in to bat for China'

AAP logoAAP 28/09/2016 Lisa Martin

Australia is well placed to make the case to Washington to try to reform international organisations to accommodate China's rise, according to a senior EU advisor.

Nathalie Tocci, a special advisor to the European Union's High Representative, says as Europe is doing some soul searching about giving up some of its own power, other countries need to do the same.

"Unless we start doing that we may end up in a situation where other organisations pop up," Dr Tocci told AAP on Wednesday.

China needed to be told the world understood it was growing and needed more space, within rules and limits.

"It's also about telling Americans, you've got to make that space, otherwise they are going to take it and it's not going to be pretty," she said.

The China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, set up in opposition to the US-based International Monetary Fund and World Bank, was the "first warning signal", she said.

Other bodies such as the World Trade Organisation and even parts of the UN could also need reform.

"In order to ensure that multilateralism survives into the future, we have to transform it," Dr Tocci said.

She urged Australia to take a leadership role because it understands China's rise is inevitable.

"I think, given Australia's relationship with the United States, it has a huge role to play in making the case," Dr Tocci said.

On the prospects of an EU and Australian free trade deal, Dr Tocci, who helped draft the new global strategy on foreign and security policy after Britain voted to leave the bloc, said politicians needed to start laying the ground work early in order to win over a hostile public.

"These are not easy times. What we are seeing is a backlash against globalisation," she said.

"A lot of explaining needs to be done about why these agreements are actually good."

She predicts the deal could be finalised by 2018.

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