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PBEC Trade Report March 2021 – Part 2

Issue: 004:

CHINA REPEATS INTEREST IN MEGA FTA: China has repeated its interest in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) saying it is actively considering making a membership bid. The comment was made by Premier Li Keqiang while presenting the government’s work report to the 13th National People’s Congress.

AUSTRALIA FILES SUGAR SUBMISSION: Australia has filed a second written submission to the WTO Dispute Panel hearing its complaint against India’s sugar subsidies. Australia claims India has responded to its claims with unpersuasive legal arguments based on misrepresentations of global trade rules.

SWISS VOTE FOR INDONESIAN FTA – JUST: A Swiss referendum last weekend saw a narrow 51.6 per cent majority support a free trade agreement with Indonesia. The FTA was ratified by the Swiss Government in 2019 but was forced to a binding voter referendum following a petition by palm oil industry opponents.

ASIAN ECONOMIES CAUGHT IN US ALUMINIUM CASE: The Commerce Department has ruled common alloy aluminium sheet from 18 economies, including India, Indonesia, South Korea and Taiwan, has been dumped in the US. Shipments from the 18 economies exceed $2b annually. An injury ruling is due in April.

AUSTRALIAN EXPORTERS GET SAUDI BOOST: Meat exporters can now send chilled vacuum-packed beef and sheep meat to Saudi Arabia by sea. It follows a decision by Saudi Arabia to increase the allowed shelf life of the meat. Agriculture Minister Littleproud said Australia was continuing talks with other Gulf States.

JAPAN LAUNCHES DIGITAL TAX GROUP: The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has established a study group to explore international taxation in the digital economy. It is tasked with exploring approaches which contribute to the competitiveness of Japanese companies. A detailed report is expected mid-year.

INDONESIAN PRESIDENT CHALLENGES FOREIGN GOODS: President Widodo has come under fire for calling on his officials to pursue a “hate foreign products” message in support of local producers. The Bangkok Post reported Widodo also called on shops to ensure local products were given strategic spaces.

TAIWANESE PINEAPPLES HEAD TO AUSTRALIA: The Council of Agriculture says Taiwan will be shipping 6000kg of pineapples to Australia in May. The biosecurity arrangements were agreed last week; only days after China banned Taiwanese pineapples. A small trial shipment of pineapples was sent a year ago.

NEW ZEALAND LOOKS FOR BETTER UK FARM OFFER: New Zealand has called on the United Kingdom to better its farm produce offer in FTA negotiations. In its report following a third round of talks in February, NZ noted that key gaps in a UK offer on agricultural products should be addressed in a revised offer.

PHILIPPINES & INDONESIA PURSUE MOU: The Philippines and Indonesia are finalizing an MOU to assist exporters comply with new Indonesian requirements for halal product assurance. The new requirements require all halal products for export to Indonesia to be registered with a new certification agency.

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