Trade Update – 19 Nov 2020
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.
PRIME MINISTERS TAKE SWIPE AT CHINA & US
Australian PM Morrison met with new Japanese PM Suga this week. A communique endorsed free and rules-based trade. Without naming any country, it also said: “They further affirmed that trade should never be used as a tool to apply political pressure.”
AUSTRALIAN BUSINESS WELCOMES RCEP
Australian business has quickly welcomed RCEP. The Business Council said Australia needed jobs and selling more goods and services was the best way to create them. The Minerals Council said RCEP signalled a shared regional commitment to open trade and investment.
WTO LOOKS FOR APEC HELP
The WTO has called on APEC Trade Ministers to renew their WTO engagement and help reform, renew and strengthen the global trading system. Its deputy director-general Agah emphasised to the ministers the importance of trade in the world recovery from COVID-
AUSTRALIA VOICES FRUSTRATION
Trade Minister Birmingham spoke this week of frustration that China would not engage on key trade issues. Australia wanted a mutually beneficial relationship and was ready for talks. “We’re up for mature discussion. We’ve made that plain, our door remains very open to that.”
EU LAUNCHES NEW COMPLAINTS SYSTEM
The European Union this week launched a new complaints system for reporting market access barriers and breaches of sustainability commitments in its FTAs. The system is part of a sharper compliance focus adopted by the EU and can be utilised from within the EU.
RCEP TO HAVE ITS OWN TEAM
A new secretariat will be established for the RCEP (ASEAN + Australia, China, Japan, South Korea and NZ) FTA. It is unclear if it will be part of the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta or located elsewhere. A supervisory joint committee with working groups will also be set-up.
TAIWAN LOOKS TO TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP
Taiwan responded to the RCEP FTA signing, which involves China, by saying it would continue to seek to join the CPTPP, which did not involve China. Taiwan, Thailand and the United Kingdom are among the economies exploring CPTPP membership.
THAILAND JOINS WTO SERVICE INDUSTRY NEGOTIATIONS
Thailand has become the 63 rd participant in WTO negotiations on the domestic regulation of services. It is the first ASEAN economy to join. The negotiations are seeking to promote regulatory practices that mitigate trade-restrictive effects.
ASEAN ESSENTIAL GOODS CHARTER ENTERS INTO FORCE
A memorandum of understanding to boost the flow of essential goods entered into force during the week. The MOU, which includes 152 essential goods, commits ASEAN economies to refrain from imposing restrictive trade measures.
INDONESIA & MALAYSIA CAUGHT UP IN WIRE INQUIRY
The US Commerce Department has announced preliminary anti-dumping duties on steel wire used in prestressed concrete and imported from seven economies including Indonesia and Malaysia. The preliminary duties range between 2.96% and 72%.