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PBEC Trade Report September 2021

Issue: 010:

AUSTRALIA INTRODUCES RCEP LEGISLATION: Legislation to enable the ratification of the RCEP FTA has been introduced to the Australian Parliament. This followed a recommendation by the Treaties Committee that Australia ratify the mega (ASEAN + Australia, China, Japan, Korea and NZ) free trade agreement.

UK FACES KEY ASIA PACIFIC MEETING: The CPTPP Accession Working Group’s first meeting to consider the UK’s bid to join the mega trade agreement will be held in the coming weeks. This follows last week’s meeting of the CPTPP Commission where economies also agreed to establish an e-commerce committee.

WTO REJECTS CHINA’S SOLAR CHALLENGE: A WTO Dispute Panel has rejected China’s challenge to US safeguard tariffs on solar products. The tariffs were introduced in 2018 and are due to expire in 2022. A review on a possible extension has begun. US Trade Representative Tai welcomed the panel’s findings.

US NAMES TRADE BOSS FOR ASIA PACIFIC: US Trade Representative Tai has appointed Dawn Shackleford as Assistant US Trade Representative for Southeast Asia. She will also have responsibility for Australia,

New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. She was previously Assistant US Trade Representative for the WTO.

AUSTRALIA AWAITS REPLY: Trade Minister Tehan is still waiting for a reply to a letter sent to his Chinese counterpart in January seeking trade talks. He said this week he would continue to wait patiently for a response and would continue sending a clear message of wanting constructive engagement with China.

INDIA & UK TO BE AMBITIOUS: India and the UK have agreed to recognise the importance of the services sector in forthcoming FTA negotiations. A joint statement from the UK-India Economic & Financial Dialogue saw the two economies agree to be ambitious when considering services in the negotiations.

MALAYSIA EXTENDS SCRAP METAL TRANSITION: The Ministry of International Trade & Industry has further extended Malaysia’s transition to tougher new requirements for importing scrap iron, steel, copper and aluminium. The transitional arrangements have now been extended until October 31.

WTO TO EXAMINE CHINA’S PRODUCE COMPLIANCE: A WTO Dispute Panel is to consider whether China has complied with an earlier ruling regarding its use of tariff rate quotas for farm imports such as wheat, corn and rice. China requested the panel after the US claimed China had not complied with the ruling.

TAIWAN IMPLEMENTS SUGAR ADJUSTMENT: Taiwan has implemented a boost to Nicaragua’s annual raw sugar quota from 35,000 metric tons to 45,000 metric tons. This took Nicaragua’s annual refined and raw sugar quota to 70,000 metric tons. The increase was made under the Taiwan-Nicaragua FTA.

HONG KONG REACHES OUT TO RCEP: Hong Kong is keen to begin formal negotiations to join the RCEP

FTA. Chief Executive Lam described Hong Kong joining RCEP as a “natural next step for Hong Kong.” China’s Commerce Minister Wang said this week China would support Hong Kong’s participation in RCEP.

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