The indicators of the problem on which Professor Ross Garnaut had to report – Australia’s economic performance relative to that of its Northeast Asian neighbours – were clear: the economic performance of Australia as a trading nation was slipping in terms of the economic performance of the five ‘tigers’ that constitute Northeast Asia. These are Japan, China, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The economic journalist, Michael Stuchbury, provides a summary account of the significant economic challenges facing the Federal Government throughout the 1980s. In August 1988 Garnaut was commissioned by the Prime Minister and the Minister for Foreign Affairs to review the implications for Australia of economic growth and structural change in east Asia. Garnaut was assisted in the work by a small secretariat from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade who managed the comprehensive data analysis which informed the report.