Trade Update – 17 Dec 2020: US Nominates New Trade Boss, Singapore Close to Pacific Alliance FTA and more
Weekly trade review provided by Chatto Creek Advisory Pty.
Chatto Creek Advisory Pty Ltd is a Melbourne-based strategic consultancy specialising 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.
AUSTRALIA URGES CHINA TO TALK
Prime Minister Morrison has called for “mature discussions” as the Australia-China trade row intensifies. He cited reports of a ban on Australian coal saying it would breach WTO rules and be a bad environmental outcome as coal sourced elsewhere had 50% higher emissions.
US NOMINATES NEW TRADE BOSS
Katherine Tai has been nominated as US Trade Representative in the Biden Administration. She currently serves as chief trade lawyer for the House Ways and Means Committee and has also served in the Office of the USTR as Chief Counsel for China Trade Enforcement.
AGRICULTURE REMAINS AN EU-NZ SENSITIVE POINT
EU market access for dairy and meat products continues to be a very sensitive point in EU-NZ FTA negotiations. NZ has reported there was no new EU agriculture offer during a recent 9th round of talks. NZ was highly critical of the EU’s initial offer.
AUSTRALIA HITS MALAYSIA WITH ALUMINIUM TARIFFS
Australia has imposed interim anti-dumping duties of up to 18.5% on mill finish and surface finish aluminium extrusions from a range of companies in Malaysia. The final reports by the Anti-Dumping Commission are due to be completed in February 2021.
SINGAPORE CLOSE TO PACIFIC ALLIANCE FTA
Following a leaders’ video meeting, Prime Minister Lee has announced the “substantial conclusion” of negotiations for an FTA with the Pacific Alliance – Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. Australia, Canada and New Zealand all have unfinished negotiations.
AUSTRALIA’S REVISED EXPORT SCHEME PASSES PARLIAMENT
Legislation for Australia’s revised Export Market Development Scheme has passed Parliament. It will begin in July 2021 and will see a move from reimbursement to a grant focus. Businesses will need a turnover of less than $20 million to be eligible.
CHINA CALLS FOR SIGNING OF FTA UPGRADE WITH NZ
Foreign Minister Wang has called for an early signing of the China-New Zealand FTA Upgrade. He made the call during a telephone discussion with NZ’s new Foreign Minister Mahuta. Negotiations to upgrade the 2008 FTA were concluded in October 2019.
UK SIGNS AGREEMENTS WITH SINGAPORE AND VIETNAM
The United Kingdom has in the past week signed an FTA with Singapore and concluded FTA negotiations with Vietnam. Trade Secretary Truss was in Asia for the two events as the UK strives to continue market access in a post-EU environment.
PHILIPPINES CALLS FOR CONTINUED TARIFF PREFERENCES
Trade Secretary Lopez has used a video call with EU Trade Commissioner Dombrovskis to stress the importance of EU GSP+ tariff preferences for SME businesses. The EU is reviewing GSP+ access for Filipino exporters due to human rights concerns.
AUSTRALIAN TRADE EXPERT JOINS BANK
Bruce Gosper has been appointed as a vice president for the Asian Development Bank in Manila. He has previously served as Ambassador to the WTO. chair of the WTO General Council, CEO of Austrade and most recently as Australian High Commissioner to Singapore.