Trade Update – 1st February 2023: AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY FACES GAS SHORTAGE, INDONESIA CHALLENGES DUTIES, WTO APPOINTS TWO KEY COMMITTEE LEADERS and many 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.
AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY FACES GAS SHORTAGE: The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has forecast a gas shortfall in the key east coast market. It forecasts a possible shortfall of 30 petajoules for industry, including exporters and residential users in 2023. This is down on a 56 PJ forecast in July.
INDONESIA CHALLENGES DUTIES: Indonesia has begun dispute proceedings at the WTO over anti-dumping and countervailing duties imposed by the EU on imports of its stainless-steel cold-rolled flat products. It claims the EU duties and investigations are inconsistent with the WTO’s anti-dumping agreement.
WTO APPOINTS TWO KEY COMMITTEE LEADERS: The WTO confirmed during the week the appointment of new chairs to two key negotiating groups. Ambassador Gunnarsson (Iceland) will chair a second wave of fisheries subsidies negotiations and Ambassador Acarsoy (Turkiye) will chair agriculture negotiations.
INDIA READIES FOR INDO-PACIFIC TALKS: The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework will next week hold a special negotiating round in New Delhi. Negotiators will focus on three of the framework pillars – supply chains, clean energy and taxation. Trade will not be covered as India is not participating in this pillar.
THAILAND & EU LOOK AT TRADE TALKS: Thailand and the EU are expected to soon resume negotiations for an FTA. It follows talks in Brussels between EU Trade Commissioner Dombrovskis and Thai Commerce Minister Jurin. Negotiations began in 2013 but have been suspended since a Thai military coup in 2014.
INDIA TO SELL DOWN WHEAT STOCKPILE: India is to sell-down three million tonnes of wheat from a central pool in a bid to boost domestic supplies and reduce prices. The sell-down is expected within the next two months and follows a series of policy actions in 2022 to boost local supplies including an export ban.
AUSTRALIAN STATE OPENS PARIS TRADE OFFICE: The Victorian State Government is to open a new trade and investment office in Paris. It has also appointed Global Victoria CEO Gonul Serbest as its Commissioner for Europe. Two-way merchandise trade between Victoria and the EU was $17.3b in 2021-22.
USTR CELEBRATES 6Oth ANNIVERSARY: The Office of the United States Trade Representative celebrated its 60th anniversary during the week. It was established by President Kennedy in 1963. Prior to the establishment of the Cabinet-level trade role trade negotiations were handled by the State Department.
INDIA-EU FTA TALKS TO RESUME IN MARCH: India and the EU are to hold a 4th round of FTA talks in Brussels between March 13 and 17. Negotiations for an FTA began in 2007 but stalled in 2013 over a serious gap in ambition levels. Three negotiating rounds have been held since talks resumed in 2022.
CANADA CALLS OUT US DUTIES: Trade Minister Ng has criticised the US Commerce Department’s preliminary finding to maintain dumping and subsidy duties on softwood lumber from Canada. She said the unjustified duties continued to act as a tax on US consumers. Canada will continue to seek out solutions.