PBEC Trade Report May 2023 – Part II
AUSTRALIAN MINISTER JETS TO CHINA: Trade Minister Farrell has jetted to Beijing for his long-awaited meeting with Commerce Minister Wang. They met on Friday where Minister Wang accepted an invitation from Minister Farrell to make a reciprocal visit as the two ministers seek to resolve a major trade dispute.
BUT NO QUICK TRADE FIXES: While the first Joint Ministerial Economic Commission meeting since 2017 did not produce any immediate resolutions to the Australia-China trade disputes, Trade Minister Farrell said he had achieved what he travelled to China for – to find a pathway to resolve remaining trade impediments.
NEW ZEALAND MINISTER VISITS WASHINGTON DC: Trade Minister O’Connor met with Commerce Secretary Raimondo while in Washington DC during the week. Their discussions focussed on the IndoPacific Economic Framework and APEC. O’Connor was primarily in the US to attend a climate conference.
INDONESIA-EU MEET FOR FTA TALKS: Indonesia and the EU met in Brussels during the week for a 14th round of negotiations for a free trade agreement. It was the second round this year. Negotiations for the FTA were launched in 2016. Indonesia and the EU are seeking to conclude an agreement by mid-2024.
US CUSTOMS FLOODED BY FLOWERS: US Customs was flooded by cut flowers in the lead-up to Mother’s Day with more than one billion stems inspected since April 1. Colombia was the biggest source country with more than 650 million flower stems. The biosecurity inspections found more than 1500 significant pests.
AUSTRALIA BANKS ON INDO-PACIFIC: Australia has budgeted $31.9 million over four years for technical assistance and capacity building among Indo-Pacific Economic Framework economies. It will also reduce funding for its Export Market Development Grant program by $61 million over four years.
INDO-PACIFIC NEGOTIATORS HEAR FROM STAKEHOLDERS: Negotiators from the 14 Indo-Pacific Economic Framework economies held a fourth Stakeholder Listening Session while meeting in Singapore during the week. They heard from more than 40 stakeholders from business, trade associations, academia and NGOs.
THAILAND & UAE BEGIN TRADE TALKS: Thailand and the UAE have agreed to launch negotiations for a comprehensive economic partnership agreement between the two economies. The first round of negotiations is to be held this week in the UAE. A UAE-Thai Business Council was launched in February.
TAIWAN SUSPENDS FTA: Taiwan has this week suspended the implementation of its FTA with El Salvador. El Salvador cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 2018. The FTA was part of a 2007 trilateral agreement between Taiwan, Honduras and El Salvador. Taiwan and Honduras will continue their FTA in the meantime.
INDIA & CANADA LOOK TO COMPREHENSIVE AGREEMENT: India and Canada have agreed their “early harvest” economic partnership agreement will be a comprehensive one and encompass high-level commitments in areas such as goods, services, investment, biosecurity and technical barriers to trade.