PBEC Trade Report April 2022

Issue: 018: April 2022

SOUTH KOREA TO MAKE FTA BID: South Korean media are reporting the economy will soon file a formal membership bid for the CPTPP FTA. The CPTPP has been signed by 11 economies including Australia, Canada, Japan, NZ and Singapore. The UK, China, Ecuador and Taiwan have also flagged interest in joining.

ASEAN LEADERS HEAD TO THE WHITE HOUSE: Leaders of ASEAN will be in Washington DC on May 12 and 13 for a US-ASEAN Special Summit. USTR Tai has meetings with a range of Asian trade leaders this week including Philippines Trade Secretary Lopez, Singapore Finance Minister Wong and Taiwan Minister Deng.

UK PRIME MINISTER JETS TO INDIA: Prime Minister Boris will be in India this week in a bid to boost trade, defence and technology co-operation. He will visit Gujarat and New Delhi where he will meet Prime Minister Modi. He expects to use the visit to drive progress in FTA negotiations between India and the UK.

AUSTRALIAN TRADE INQUIRIES LAPSE: Australia’s calling of an election for May 21 has seen two trade inquiries lapse. Parliament’s Treaties Committee has been dissolved and will be unable to complete its ratification inquiries of new FTAs with India and the UK. A post-election committee will take over the work.

NEW ZEALAND TO RUSH IN EXPORT WORKERS: NZ has relaxed its immigration laws to allow entry for 1580 experienced workers for its dairy, meat and forestry industries. Agriculture Minister O’Connor, who also serves as Trade Minister, said food and fibre exports were expected to exceed $50 billion this year.

SOUTH KOREA URGES INDONESIAN HURRY-UP: Trade Minister Moon has urged Indonesia to promptly ratify the Korea-Indonesia FTA and the RCEP FTA so businesses of the two economies could reap the benefits. Indonesian Trade Minister Lufti told Moon Parliament was readying to ratify the two agreements.

AUSTRALIA GETS A US SUGAR BOOST: Australia will be able to ship an additional 21,284 tons of raw sugar to the US following a reallocation of unused tariff rate quotas for 2021-22. This is the third highest reallocation behind the Dominican Republic and Brazil. Thailand, Fiji and India also received reallocations.

THAILAND READIES FOR NEW FTA: Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce is preparing a Cabinet submission seeking approval to negotiate a new FTA with the European Free Trade Association economies of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Trade between the economies is worth $US2 billion annually.

INDIA ABANDONS COTTON TARIFFS: India has sought to boost the competitiveness of its textile industry by temporarily abolishing import and infrastructure development tariffs totalling 10 per cent on raw cotton. The tariff abolition began on April 14 and is scheduled to remain in place until September 30.

MEXICO WINS WTO AVOCADO ROW: A WTO Dispute Panel has ruled largely in favour of Mexico in an avocado row with Costa Rica. It found a biosecurity risk analysis prepared by Costa Rica had failed to fully consider available scientific evidence. Costa Rica banned the importation of Mexican avocados in 2015.

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