Trade Update – 24 Sep 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.
TRADE MINISTERS TOLD TO STEP-UP
WTO deputy director-general Wolff told G20 Trade Ministers this week to do more for WTO reform. He called for “renewed engagement” by WTO members to conclude ongoing negotiations, advance systemic reform and to unwind pandemic-related trade restrictions.
AUSTRALIA GETS NEW US SUGAR ALLOCATION
The USTR has announced that a new raw cane sugar import quota of 90,718 metric tons will be allocated to Australia and Brazil with 10,718 and 80,000 tons respectively. The new quota for Fiscal Year 2020 is additional to all other previously announced quotas.
EUROPEAN UNION & CHINA KEEP TALKING
Negotiators for an EU-China Investment Agreement have been meeting this week for a 32 nd time in seven years. They are aiming to conclude an agreement which replaces 26 existing bilateral treaties. The negotiations began in Beijing in 2013
AUSTRALIA RATIFIES GLOBAL TREATY
Australia has ratified the UN Convention on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration. It will enter into force in March 2021. Trade Minister Birmingham said the convention would bring a greater level of transparency to international investment.
US-UK FTA NEGOTIATIONS GAIN PACE
A 5th round of FTA negotiations between the UK and US has been scheduled late October. This is only weeks after a 4th round was held between September 8 and 18 where 29 working sessions were held. The parties exchanged their first tariff offers just before the talks began.
CANADA ABANDONS CHINA TALKS
Canada has quit its stalled FTA talks with China. The negotiations with Canada’s second largest trading partner began in 2016 but stalled over diplomatic controversies. Foreign Minister Champagne told media this week that the China of 2020 was not the China of 2016.
WTO NARROWS NEW LEADER FIELD
The WTO has trimmed its list of potential director-general candidates with three candidates from Mexico, Egypt and Moldova being dropped after member consultations. Five candidates remain in the field to take over the global role vacated by Roberto Azevedo.
EUROPE TARGETS FILIPINO CONCESSIONS
The European Parliament has passed a motion calling for a temporary suspension of tariff preferences for the Philippines. In the absence of substantial human rights improvements in the Philippines, it has called for an immediate commencement of suspension processes.
AUSTRALIA TERMINATES CHINA ANTI-DUMPING INQUIRY
Australia has terminated a dumping inquiry into galvanised steel angle imported from China. The Anti-Dumping Commission began the inquiry 15 months ago after a complaint by local industry but found any dumping margins were less than 2 per cent.
TRADE UNION LEADERS CALL FOR FTA SCRUTINY
Trade union leaders in Australia, NZ and the UK have issued a joint statement calling for independent assessments of FTAs on such topics as employment, public health and the environment. Agreements should not be pursued where the impacts were damaging.