SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENT VISITS AUSTRALIA: President Moon visited Australia this week to boost trade, clean energy and defence relations between the economies. During the visit, which included meetings with business leaders, the two economies elevated their relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
CHINA REACHES 20 YEARS: The WTO recognised the 20th anniversary of China’s membership by hosting a high-level forum. China became the 143rd member in December 2001. WTO director-general Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala described China’s accession as a “pivotal event in the history of the multilateral trading system.”
AUSTRALIA’S LOGISTICS SECTOR UNDER FUEL CHALLENGE: Australia has been reaching out to Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Qatar and the UAE to boost supplies of urea, an ingredient in the diesel fuel additive Adblue. Australian supplies of the critical fuel additive are running low and threatening trade flows.
SOUTH KOREA LOOKS TO CPTPP: With its ratification of the RCEP FTA now complete and its active membership of the FTA due to begin in February, South Korea is now looking to the CPTPP FTA. Australian Prime Minister Morrison said Australia would welcome the prospect of South Korea joining the CPTPP.
AUSTRALIA SEEKS GREEN COMMENT: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade is seeking public submissions as it prepares to negotiate a Singapore-Australia Green Economy Agreement. It particularly wants to hear how an agreement can boost two-way trade in clean energy, environmental goods and services exports.
CHINESE ALUMINIUM FOIL HIT BY EU: The European Union has announced anti-dumping duties of up to 28.5% on aluminium converter foil imported from China. A parallel anti-subsidy inquiry is continuing. The aluminium foil is widely used for packaging for food, dairy, liquid and pharmaceutical goods.
NZ ANNOUNCES NEW INITIATIVE: New Zealand has announced a new Indigenous Peoples Economic and Trade Cooperation Arrangement to enable economies and indigenous peoples to work together. The plurilateral arrangement will be overseen by a Partnership Council and will be open to other economies.
SINGAPORE & UK CLOSE TO NEW AGREEMENT: Singapore and the United Kingdom have substantially concluded negotiations for what they describe as the world’s most advanced digital economy agreement. It followed a meeting in London between Trade Relations Minister Iswaran and Trade Secretary Trevelyan.
INDIA APPEALS TO STEEL MAKERS FOR HELP: Commerce Minister Goyal has called on India’s steel makers to offer assistance to small industries and exporters using steel. He said special care needed to be taken to ensure small to medium businesses had a cost-effective and easier supply of steel.
AUSTRALIA LOOKS TO PORT INQUIRY REPORT BY AUGUST: The Government has tasked the Productivity Commission with completing an inquiry into long-term structural issues affecting Australia’s maritime logistics sector by August 2022. The terms of reference for the inquiry were published during the week.