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Trade Update – 15 Oct 2020

Trade Update – 15 Oct 2020

Weekly trade review provided by Chatto Creek Advisory Pty.

Chatto Creek Advisory Pty Ltd is a Melbourne-based strategic consultancy specializing in trade policy advice and government engagement strategy. It is headed by Russell Scoular, an executive with rich government relations, trade policy, and business experience throughout the Asia Pacific.

TRADE MINISTERS WORK TOWARD MEGA FTA
Trade Ministers from  RCEP (ASEAN + Australia, China, Japan,  Korea, and NZ) were scheduled to meet virtually this week in a critical bid to move negotiations for the mega-regional FTA toward an agreement. It would be the 11th intersessional ministerial meeting.

AUSTRALIA SEEKS CHINA CONFIRMATION
Australia has this week sought to confirm reports China has verbally advised key power utilities and steel mills to stop importing Australian coking and thermal coal amidst reports of domestic quota pressure. Tensions have already affected barley, beef, and wine exports.

TAIWAN LOOKS TO ASIA PACIFIC FTA
President Tsai has repeated Taiwan’s enthusiasm to join the CPTPP. She told the 2020 Yushan Forum that in addition to joining the mega-regional FTA, Taiwan looked forward to advancing regional prosperity and stability by signing further bilateral economic agreements.

ASIAN ECONOMIES CAUGHT UP IN ALUMINIUM INQUIRY
The US Commerce Department has imposed preliminary anti-dumping duties of up to 51% on common alloy aluminium sheet from 18 countries. The countries include India, Indonesia, South Korea and Taiwan. A final ruling is due in February.

WTO LEADERSHIP RUN-OFF TO BEGIN NEXT WEEK
The WTO will begin the third phase of member consultations on October 19 to determine its next director-general. This follows last week’s narrowing of the field to two women candidates – Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Nigeria) and Yoo Myung-hee (South Korea).

AUSTRALIAN TRADE MINISTER GETS WORKLOAD BOOST
Trade Minister Birmingham has received a big workload boost with his appointment as Finance Minister and Government Senate Leader. It follows the retirement of Mathias Cormann, who has been nominated to be the next secretary-general of the OECD.

BRITISH TRADE ENVOYS HEADING FOR ASIA PACIFIC
British PM Boris Johnson has named a further 15 of his MPs as Prime Ministerial Trade Envoys. It takes the program to 31 MPs and 69 markets. New markets now covered include Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, Brunei and Sri Lanka.

US CHALLENGES WTO RULING
A WTO Arbitrator Panel ruled this week the EU could impose annual penalties of $US3.99 billion on US goods due to an aircraft subsidy dispute. USTR Lighthizer responded saying there was no legal basis for the penalty because the disputed tax break had already been abolished.

AUSTRALIAN NEGOTIATIONS CONTINUE AT PACE
Australian trade negotiators face a busy period as they seek to progress virtual FTA negotiations with both the EU and the UK. The 9th round of talks with the EU is scheduled November 30 – December 11 and a 3rd round with the UK in November.

SOUTH KOREA & CAMBODIA TARGET FTA BY YEAR-END
South Korea and Cambodia are hopeful of concluding FTA negotiations by year-end. The third round of negotiations, held by video, concluded during the week. China and Cambodia concluded negotiations in July and signed an FTA earlier this week.

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