MALAYSIA LAUNCHES PALM OIL DISPUTE ACTION: Malaysia has launched WTO dispute action against palm oil restrictions by the EU. This follows earlier dispute action by Indonesia. Malaysia is the world’s second largest producer of palm oil. Its complaint is the 600th trade dispute brought before the WTO.
AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY CALLS FOR NEW MARKETS: Australian Industry Group leader Innes Willox has called on industry and government to work together to identify new markets. Writing in The Australian he said Australia should not respond to China’s trade bullying by caving on its core beliefs and principles.
TRUMP’S CHINA TARIFFS HIT US JOBS: Tariffs imposed by President Trump on goods imported from China have had a heavy impact on US employment, according to a study by Oxford Economics and the US-China Business Council. It estimates 245,000 US jobs have been lost due to “tit-for-tat” tariff actions since 2018.
INDIA LOOKS TO GLOBAL TRADE LEADERSHIP: India is looking to a new foreign trade policy to make the economy a leader in global trade. A key focus of the 2021-2026 policy, introduced a year late because of COVID-19, will be a focus on goods and services exports to help create a $US5 trillion Indian economy.
AUSTRALIA FACES EXTENDED RUSSIAN BAN: The Department of Agriculture has advised exporters that Russia has extended to December 31 its import ban on a range of Australian produce including beef, pork, seafood and dairy products. The extension is related to an extension of EU sanctions on Russia.
US CLAIMS E-COMMERCE BOOSTING PIRACY: The USTR has called out e-commerce for facilitating the sale of pirated and counterfeit goods. It said the greatest risk to the importing of such goods was not posed by flea markets and dark web sites, but by the inadequate policies and actions of e-commerce companies.
INDONESIAN BANS FACE WTO CHALLENGE: The EU has begun dispute action at the WTO claiming illegal trade restrictions by Indonesia on raw materials used in the production of stainless steel. The materials include nickel ore and iron ore. The restrictions include export bans and local processing requirements.
VIETNAM ESCAPES US TARIFFS: A study by the US Trade Representative into Vietnam’s policies related to currency has determined that unfair practices contributing to currency under-valuation harmed the US and need to be addressed. However the US said it would not be taking any specific actions at this time.
CAMBODIA TO TRIGGER HONG KONG-ASEAN FTA: The Hong Kong-ASEAN FTA is due to enter into force in full on February 12. This coincides with Cambodia joining the trade and investment agreement. ASEAN is Hong Kong’s second largest merchandise trading partner and fourth largest services trading partner.
PHILIPPINES KEEPS MEAT TARIFF LOW: President Duterte has issued an executive order keeping the import tariff for mechanically deboned meat at 5 per cent in a bid to avoid price hikes for processed and canned meat products during the COVID-19 recovery. The tariff was scheduled to increase to 40 per cent.
A summary trade report initiative launched for PBEC members benefit in 2021