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Trade Update – 27 Aug 2020

Trade Update – 27 Aug 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.

CHINA CO WITHDRAWS AUSTRALIAN DAIRY BID
China Mengniu Dairy Co this week withdrew a $600m bid to buy Lion Dairy in Australia. This followed Treasurer Frydenberg signalling he would likely block the purchase from Japan’s Kirin Holdings as he regarded it as contrary to Australia’s national interest.

RCEP MINISTERS MEET
Trade Ministers from RCEP (ASEAN + Australia, China, Japan, Korea and New Zealand) are scheduled to meet by video today in a bid to drive the mega FTA toward completion by year end. The 8 th Ministerial meeting coincides with a week of ASEAN Economic Ministerial Meetings.

US & CHINA TALK TRADE
USTR Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin talked with Vice Premier Liu this week to review progress of the Phase One Agreement between the US and China. The talks focussed on greater IT protection, end of forced technology transfer and increased purchases of US products.

AUSTRALIAN LEADER TO PROMOTE UK TRADE
Former Australian Prime Minister Abbott was reported this week to have been appointed joint president of the UK Government’s Board of Trade. The appointment comes as the UK is close to an FTA with Japan and negotiating with the US, Australia and NZ.

ASEAN TOBACCO FEUD RETURNS TO WTO
The Philippines will this week seek approval from the WTO Dispute Settlement Body to withdraw some trade concessions to Thailand. The retaliation follows Thailand’s failure to apply earlier dispute findings over the tax treatment of tobacco from the Philippines.

US HITS OUT AT CANADIAN TIMBER RULING
US Trade Representative Lighthizer has hit out at a WTO Dispute Panel claiming its “fundamentally flawed” ruling would prevent the US from taking legitimate action against “pervasive Canadian timber subsidies.” Canada’s Trade Minister Ng welcomed the ruling.

WTO BOSS SWAPS TRADE FOR SOFT DRINK
WTO director-general Roberto Azevedo will step down as global trade leader on August 31 after seven years. A day later the former Brazilian diplomat will begin a new job as Executive Vice President and Chief Corporate Affairs Officer of the New York-based PepsiCo.

PHILIPPINE EXPORTERS URGED TO LOOK TO RUSSIA
The Department of Trade this week urged Philippine exporters to grow their businesses by looking to Russia where they could access a 25% discount on customs duties. Products covered by the GSP discount include food, furniture and industrial goods.

HONG KONG LOOKING TO WTO
Hong Kong is reported by The South China Morning Post to be looking at starting dispute action at the WTO over an executive trade order by President Trump. US Customs is implementing the order by requiring goods produced in Hong Kong to be marked “Made in China.”

AUSTRALIA LAUNCHES RUSSIAN NITRATE INQUIRY
The Anti-Dumping Commission has begun an inquiry into whether anti-dumping duties should remain in place for ammonium nitrate imported from Russia. The duties were first introduced in 2001 and are currently due to expire in May 2021.

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