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PBEC Trade Report May 2021

Issue: 006:

AUSTRALIA KEEPS UP WTO ENGAGEMENT: Foreign Minister Payne has met with WTO director-general Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to discuss the economic response to COVID-19, equitable vaccine access and women’s economic security. Trade Minister Tehan and the new global trade leader met three weeks ago.

INDIA & UNITED KINGDOM LAUNCH TRADE PARTNERSHIP: Prime Ministers Modi and Johnson met virtually during the week and launched an Enhanced Trade Partnership. They agreed to work on a path toward a comprehensive FTA and established a target of more than doubling India-UK trade by 2030.

AUSTRALIAN OFFICIALS MEET WITH PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE: Officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Department of Industry met with Parliament’s Joint Treaties Committee this week as part of Australia’s ratification of the RCEP FTA. The FTA is expected to enter into force in 2022.

INDIA & EUROPEAN UNION TO RESUME TRADE TALKS: India and the EU have agreed to begin parallel negotiations for free trade and investment agreements. This comes eight years after they suspended trade negotiations due to different levels of ambition. Negotiations were first launched in 2007.

NEW ZEALAND & UNITED KINGDOM TO SPEED FTA TALKS: Trade Minister O’Connor has spoken of NZ and the UK rapidly lifting the tempo of their FTA negotiations. This follows a virtual meeting with UK Trade Secretary Truss. Chief negotiators will now meet monthly with the next formal round of talks due in June.

CHINA CLOSES DOOR ON AUSTRALIAN TALKS: Trade Minister Tehan has spoken of disappointment with the suspension of the China-Australia Economic Dialogue. There have been no talks since 2017. Tehan told the ABC the best way for Australia and China to work through their differences was to sit down and talk.

JAPAN TO HOST ASEAN BUSINESS WEEK: The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will host a virtual “ASEAN-Japan Business Week” this month. It will focus on innovative and sustainable growth and is designed to assist Japanese businesses boost sales at a time of massive transformation in the region.

NEW ZEALAND PUTS FOCUS ON TRADE-LED RECOVERY: Trade Minister O’Connor spoke this week of a trade-led economic recovery with a focus on support of global trade rules, refreshing of key trade relationships, commitment to “open plurilateral agreements” and support for institutions like APEC.

PHILIPPINES REPORTS BIG EXPORT BOOST: The Philippines has reported a boost in its merchandise exports as its global supply chains demand more goods to support their COVID-19 recovery. Goods exportsin March jumped by 32% on a year earlier to $US6.68b. Electronics accounted for 61% of the exports.

AUSTRALIA BOOSTS BIOSECURITY FUNDING: Australia has announced a $371 million funding boost for its biosecurity trade and tourism initiatives. Australia’s biosecurity system protects $53 billion in agriculture exports and $42 billion in inbound tourism annually.


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