Issue: 016: February 2022
AUSTRALIAN & INDIA LOOK FOR “LIGHT FTA” IN 30 DAYS: Trade Ministers Tehan and Goyal met in Delhi during the week and agreed to conclude an interim FTA within 30 days. It is expected the interim agreement will be signed in March. A comprehensive agreement is to be completed within 12 months.
US CONFIRMS APEC HOSTING: The US confirmed this week that it would host APEC in 2023. It has also named Matt Murray as its senior official for APEC. A senior diplomat with the State Department, Murray has previously served in a range of overseas postings including in Delhi, Shanghai, Beijing and Canberra.
AUSTRALIA ADDS CHINA TO BUG LIST: Australia has added China to its emerging risk country list for high risk brown marmorated stink bugs and will be stepping up biosecurity freight inspections. This follows the detection of live bugs in goods originating in China. The stink bugs can devastate crop production.
SINGAPORE & EU TO ACCELERATE DIGITAL AGREEMENT: Singapore and the European Union have agreed to accelerate negotiations towards a comprehensive and forward-looking digital partnership. This followed a video meeting on Monday between EU Commissioner Breton and Trade Relations Minister Iswaran.
CANADA SEEKS TO JOIN CHINA WTO CASE: Canada is the latest economy seeking to join a European Union trade complaint against China. It joins Australia, UK and US in seeking to join dispute consultations at the WTO. The European Union claims China’s trade practices against Lithuania breach global trade rules.
AUSTRALIA BEGINS UK FTA RATIFICATION: Legislation allowing Australia to ratify the Australia-UK FTA was introduced to Parliament during the week. The FTA, signed in December, will now be reviewed by Parliament’s Joint Treaties Committee. The committee has invited public submissions by March 18.
US PURSUES MEXICAN FISHING ACTION: The US has this week used an environmental chapter in the US Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement to seek environmental talks with Mexico. The US action relates to the prevention of illegal fishing, protection of the endangered vaquita porpoise and trafficking of totoaba fish.
NZ-CHINA FTA UPGRADE BEGINS IN APRIL: The NZ-China FTA Upgrade will begin on April 7. This follows the completion of ratification processes by NZ and China. The FTA Upgrade was signed in January 2021 and followed the completion of negotiations in October 2019. The NZ-China FTA began in 2008.
ASEAN & EU LOOK TO PALM OIL MEETING: An ASEAN-EU Joint Palm Oil Working Group is expected to meet for a second time. It follows a 29th ASEAN-EU Joint Cooperation meeting during the week. Palm oil is a contentious ASEAN-EU issue with Indonesia and Malaysia having initiated dispute proceedings at the WTO.
AUSTRALIA PUTS CHINA BACK IN THE QUEUE: Parliament’s Foreign Affairs, Defence & Trade Committee has recommended Australia work toward the UK, Taiwan and South Korea joining the CPTPP FTA. It also recommended China should end its coercive trade policies before being considered for CPTPP membership.