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Trade Update – 6 August 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 Asia Pacific.

AUSTRALIA POSTS RECORD SURPLUS
Australia has reported a record financial year trade surplus for 2019-20. Trade Minister Birmingham said the $77 billion surplus had highlighted the incredible strength and resilience of the export sector. A June surplus of $8 billion was the 30 th consecutive monthly surplus.

WTO STRUGGLES TO NAME NEW BOSS
The WTO is struggling to reach consensus on its next director-general – only 3 weeks before Roberto Azevedo retires. Its General Council has decided all 4 deputies will stay in office until a new leader is selected. It follows a failure to select one of them to an acting d/g role.

INDIA TO BOOST DEFENCE EXPORTS
The Ministry of Defence this week published a new draft defence production and export promotion policy. It calls for a tripling of defence exports to $US5 billion by 2025. It suggests defence producers could be mandated to have at least 25% of their revenue from exports.

EU-VIETNAM FTA BEGINS
The EU-Vietnam FTA formally began on August 1 and represents the most comprehensive agreement the EU has with a developing economy. The FTA is the second by the EU in ASEAN following an initial FTA with Singapore. The EU also has agreements with Japan and Korea.

WTO LINES UP ASIA PACIFIC DISPUTE PANELS
WTO Dispute Panels are to be established to consider a range of disputes involving Asia Pacific economies. They include Japan against India’s ICT tariffs, Korea against Japan’s technology restrictions and Indonesia against the EU’s palm oil restrictions.

NZ SEEKS TO BO0ST WOMEN IN TRADE
NZ joined with Canada and Chile this week to launch a new trade initiative to boost women’s participation in trade. Trade Minister Parker encouraged other economies with an interest in women’s participation in global trade to join the Global Trade & Gender Arrangement.

AUSTRALIA-EU SCHEDULE 8TH ROUND
An 8th round of Australia-EU FTA negotiations is scheduled to be held by video between September 14 and 25. Meanwhile, a 9th round of New Zealand-EU FTA negotiations is not expected to be held before the New Zealand general election on September 19.

ASEAN & JAPAN BOOST TRADE AGREEMENT
An upgraded ASEAN-Japan CEP Agreement began on August 1 covering Japan, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. It includes new chapters on services trade, people movement and investment and is expected to cover all economies by November.

JAPANESE MINISTER JETS TO UK
Foreign Minister Motegi jetted by private plane to London this week for talks with Trade Minister Truss in a bid to further negotiations for a Japan-UK FTA. The visit is the first foreign trip by a Japanese Minister since the global outbreak of COVID-19.

KIWI APPOINTED TO POOL
A former chief international legal advisor to the NZ Government, Penelope Ridings, is among 10 arbitrators appointed to consider trade appeals while the WTO Appellate System is deadlocked. Australia, Canada, China, NZ, Singapore and the EU are among the participating economies.

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