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PBEC Trade Report July 2023

PBEC Trade Report July 2023

AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY CALLS FOR TASMAN TRADE BOOST: The Australian Industry Group has moved to reinvigorate the Australia-NZ Closer Economic Relations Agreement saying decisions by regulators were undermining the agreement. It proposes a Task Force of political, industry and regulatory leaders.

INDIA BANS RICE EXPORTS: India has banned the export of non-basmati white rice in a bid to lower prices and boost availability for domestic consumers. The ban was announced with immediate effect during the week. It follows an earlier bid last September to lower prices by imposing a 20% export tariff.

SINGAPORE & EU LAUNCH DIGITAL TALKS: Singapore and the European Union launched negotiations during the week for a digital trade agreement. Trade Minister Gan and Trade Commissioner Dombrovskis launched the negotiations via videoconference. Singapore and the EU implemented an FTA in 2019.

US PROCLAIMS MADE IN AMERICA: President Biden has proclaimed this week as Made in America Week 2023 and has called on Americans to celebrate the workers, unions and innovators whose work powered US prosperity and were making it possible for the US to once again lead the world in manufacturing.

RCEP FTA COMMITTEE MEETS IN INDONESIA: The RECP FTA joint committee of officials from 15 member economies met in Surabaya during the week to prepare for a meeting of RCEP Trade Ministers in August. The RCEP work agenda includes the establishment of a secretariat and a bid by Sri Lanka to join the FTA.

AUSTRALIA GETS US SUGAR LIFT: Australia has received the second-biggest allocation by the US of extra tariff-rate quotas for raw cane sugar in the September 2022/23 year. It will be able to ship 19,356 tonnes of the additional allocation of 125,000 tonnes. Brazil received the largest boost of 33,815 tonnes.

US SEEKS TO BOOST INDO-PACIFIC TRADE TALKS: The US has continued lobbying for the trade pillar of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework with visits to Indonesia and Malaysia during the week by US Deputy Trade Representative Sandra Bianchi. It follows her earlier visits in June to South Korea and the Philippines.

AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY HIT BY “NUISANCE” COSTS: The Productivity Commission has described the main effect of Australia’s complex and convoluted tariff system as imposing “nuisance” compliance costs on importers. It suggests such costs of up to $3.6 billion in 2021/22 compared to tariff revenue of $1.8 billion.

NEW ZEALAND BEGINS RATIFICATION OF EU FTA: New Zealand has begun its ratification processes for the NZ-EU Free Trade Agreement. Its Parliamentary Foreign Affairs, Defence & Trade Committee is undertaking a treaty examination of the FTA and is inviting public submissions to be made by 28 July.

US SENATE BACKS TAIWAN TRADE AGREEMENT: The US Senate has passed legislation backing the first trade agreement negotiated under the US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade. The legislation passed the House of Representatives in June and is expected to be signed into law by President Biden this week.

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