PBEC Trade Report March 2023
AUSTRALIA LOOKING FOR CHINA TRADE PROGRESS: Australian trade officials are expected to continue talks with their Chinese counterparts this week ahead of an anticipated visit by Trade Minister Farrell. He told Sky News during the week he was confident some progress would be made on outstanding issues.
TRADE MINISTERS HEAD TO NEW ZEALAND: Trade Ministers from CPTPP FTA economies will head to Auckland in July for a 7th CPTPP Commission. NZ will be hosting the meeting as chair of the CPTPP in 2023. Trade Minister O’Connor said NZ businesses had already benefitted from $300m in CPTPP tariff savings.
AUSTRALIA GETS US SUGAR BOOST: Australia will be able to ship an additional 24,479 tons of raw cane sugar to the US following a reallocation of unused tariff rate quotas for 2022/23. This is the third highest reallocation behind Brazil and the Dominican Republic. Thailand, Fiji and India also received reallocations.
JAPAN & SOUTH KOREA SETTLE EXPORT DISPUTE: Japan has lifted its ban on the export of critical materials to South Korea. In return South Korea has withdrawn a dispute challenge to the WTO over the ban. This followed trade talks during the week. The ban was introduced in 2019 over a wartime reparations dispute.
AUSTRALIAN OFFICIAL VISITS GENEVA: Australia’s leading trade official Tim Yeend was in Geneva during the week to advance key issues such as farm trade, WTO reform and WTO MC13 preparations with a range of meetings including WTO director-general Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and WIPO director-general Daren Tang.
FIJIAN TRADE MISSION LANDS IN NEW ZEALAND: Fiji has this week sent its largest-ever trade mission to New Zealand in a bid to boost trade and investment between the two economies. The five-day mission, led by Deputy Prime Minister and Trade Minister Kamikamica, includes more than 150 participants.
US PUBLISHES TAIWAN TRADE TEXTS: The US has published a summary of the texts it has proposed to Taiwan as part of a US-Taiwan 21st Century Trade Initiative. It follows a first negotiating round in January. The texts canvass a range of topics including customs, trade facilitation and services regulation.
CANADA & UK TALK CPTPP FTA: Trade Minister Ng met with her UK counterpart Badenoch in London during the week in a bid to advance the UK’s participation in the CPTPP FTA. Following the meeting Minister Ng reaffirmed Canada’s support for the UK’s accession and encouraged continued momentum.
THAILAND & EU TO RESUME FTA NEGOTIATIONS: Thailand and the EU formally agreed during the week to resume negotiations for a free trade agreement. Negotiations first began in 2013 but were suspended in 2014 following a military coup. It is expected a new negotiating round will be held in the coming months.
TRADE NEGOTIATORS MEET IN BALI & BRUSSELS: Negotiators from Indo-Pacific Economic Framework economies met in Bali during the week for a second round of negotiations across the US-led initiative’s four pillars. Meanwhile negotiators from India and the EU met in Brussels for a 4th round of FTA negotiations.
AUSTRALIA & INDIA AIM FOR YEAR-END AGREEMENT: Australia and India will seek to promptly conclude an expanded trade agreement following talks between Prime Ministers Albanese and Modi. Prime Minister Albanese said he was hopeful an ambitious and transformational agreement could be finalised this year.
US MISSION TARGETS ASEAN MARKETS: The US Commerce Department is this week leading a trade mission of 100 businesses across 20 industry sectors to ASEAN. The mission centres on a three-day business forum in Bangkok and will include side visits to Vietnam, Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.
JAPAN JOINS TRADE DISPUTE SETTLEMENT ARRANGEMENT: Japan has agreed to join the Multi-Appeal Interim Arbitration Arrangement. This is the appeal mechanism 53 economies have now agreed to use to resolve trade disputes since the World Trade Organization’s Appellate Body ceased functioning in 2019.
INDIA & US SIGN SEMICONDUCTOR MOU: India and the US have signed an MOU to establish a semiconductor supply chain partnership. It was signed by Commerce Secretary Raimondo and Commerce Minister Goyal during the former’s visit to New Delhi to relaunch an India-US Commercial Dialogue.
AUSTRALIAN MINISTER PREPARES FOR CHINA TRIP: Trade Minister Farrell is on the cusp of visiting China to meet Commerce Minister Wang in a bid to resolve long-running trade disputes. He told the ABC during the week that officials’ talks were going well and he expected to be visiting China in “the near, near future.”
US & EU TO PURSUE MINERALS AGREEMENT: The US and EU are to negotiate a targeted critical minerals agreement. It follows talks between US President Biden and EU President von der Leyen. An agreement would allow minerals mined or processed in the EU to count toward clean vehicle subsidies in the US.
NZ & THAI DIPLOMATS TO HEAD WTO COMMITTEES: New Zealand’s permanent representative to the WTO Claire Kelly has been appointed chairperson of the Geneva-based organization’s regional trade agreements committee. Thailand’s WTO representative Pimchanok Pitfield will chair the Council for TRIPS.
AUSTRALIA LINKS UP WITH BOLLYWOOD: Australia and India have signed an Audio-Visual Co-Production Agreement. It was signed during the week by Trade Minister Farrell and Broadcasting Minister Thakur and is expected to lead to more co-productions with projects being able to access government funding.
US APPOINTS TRADE ADVISORY COMMITTEE: The White House named a 14-member Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations earlier this month. The Committee will provide specialised advice on trade policy to US Trade Representative Tai. Its membership is drawn from industry, academia and trade unions.
AUSTRALIA SEEKS TO HEAD-OFF MALAYSIAN DUTY DODGE: Australia has broadened the size of concrete underlay film covered by an anti-dumping notice. It follows an anti-circumvention inquiry which found antidumping duties had been avoided by small changes to the size of the film imported from Malaysia.