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PBEC Trade Report February 2021

ANZAC TRADE MINISTERS TO TALK: Australia & New Zealand Trade Ministers Tehan and O’Connor are to have their first bilateral talks this week. It follows contentious comments by NZ’s O’Connor on how Australia could repair its trade relations with China. Tehan told the ABC he was grateful O’Connor had called him to clarify the comments.

UK ASKS TO JOIN PACIFIC FTA: The UK requested on Monday 1st Feb 2021 to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). It will be the first non-Asia Pacific economy to join. Its membership bid will be reviewed by a working party of existing members. This CPTPP bid is in addition to UK bilateral FTA negotiations with Australia and NZ.

KIWI MEAT PRODUCERS CALL FOR UK TO STEP UP: The Meat Industry Association and Beef & Lamb New Zealand have jointly welcomed the UK’s bid to join the CPTPP. They have also signalled they expect the UK will recognise the high-quality nature of the FTA and will quickly resolve outstanding tariff quota issues.

US POINTS TO HAPPIER WTO TIMES AHEAD: The US has spoken of a fresh approach to reform at the WTO. Charge d’affaires Bisbee told a gathering of ministers the US was committed to “positive, constructive and active engagement.” The WTO’s functioning was significantly hampered under the Trump Administration.

CANADA LOOKS TO INDONESIAN FTA: Canadians have three weeks left in which to provide their views on an FTA between Canada and Indonesia. The Canadian Government is seeking public input before finalizing a decision whether to negotiate an FTA. Trade between the two economies is worth $4 billion annually.

US FLAGS SANCTIONS FOR MYANMAR: Trade sanctions against Myanmar may follow the military’s seizure of power. President Biden said the US had removed sanctions based on the economy’s progress toward democracy. The reversal of that progress would necessitate an immediate review of sanction laws.

AUSTRALIA LAUNCHES GLASS INQUIRY: Australia has launched an anti-dumping continuation inquiry into imports of clear float glass from China, Indonesia and Thailand. The anti-dumping duties were first applied in 2011 and are currently due to expire in October 2021. Local industry is seeking their continuation.

TRADE MINISTERS TO ACCELERATE WTO APPOINTMENT: Trade Ministers and senior officials from 29 economies, including Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, NZ, Singapore, Thailand and the US, met by video during the week and stressed the urgency of appointing a new director-general of the WTO.

ASEAN & EU TALK PALM OIL: A joint ASEAN-EU working group on palm oil has met for the first time and agreed to share information on sustainability and to explore possible technical cooperation. Palm oil is a contentious trade topic with Indonesia and Malaysia both having disputes with the EU before the WTO.

CANADA & RUSSIA SEEK TO JOIN BARLEY ACTION: Canada and Russia have sought to join the dispute consultations at the WTO that will follow Australia’s complaint against anti-dumping and subsidy duties imposed by China on Australian barley. Like Australia, the two economies are major barley producers.

A summary trade report initiative launched for PBEC members benefit in 2021.

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