Trade Update – 8 Oct 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.
AUSTRALIA TO MAKE TRADING SIMPLER
Trade Minister Birmingham is to lead a new Joint Ministerial Taskforce on Simplified Trade. It will work with an Industry Advisory Council to make trading simpler and cheaper by cutting red tape, increasing supply chain resilience and supporting trade expansion.
US LAUNCHES VIETNAMESE CURRENCY INQUIRY
The US has launched an inquiry into two trade issues with Vietnam related to the alleged undervaluation of its currency and the use of timber that is illegally harvested or traded. USTR Lighthizer said such unfair practices could harm US workers and businesses.
US SENATORS CALL FOR TAIWAN FTA
Fifty US Senators – 42 Republican and 8 Democrat – have written to USTR Lighthizer encouraging him to begin negotiations for a formal trade agreement with Taiwan. They argued an agreement would diversify supply chains and reduce US reliance on countries such as China.
INDONESIA LAUNCHES INQUIRY
Indonesia has begun a safeguard inquiry into imported apparel and clothing accessories. It follows a complaint by the Indonesia Textile Association that domestic producers were being damaged by growing imports. A safeguard inquiry can lead to temporary import restrictions.
US LAUNCHES BLUEBERRY INQUIRY
The US has begun a safeguard inquiry into imported blueberries. Imports of the fruit have doubled since 2014. USTR Lighthizer sought the inquiry by the US International Trade Commission into the extent the rising imports had caused serious injury to local producers.
WTO HEAD CALLS FOR TOUGHER FARM RULES
WTO deputy director-general Alan Woolf has called for the global trade organisation to develop a more robust agriculture rule book to ensure food supplies did not become unpredictable at times of crisis. He described COVID-19 as a wake-up call for such action.
AUSTRALIA & EU EXPECT 9TH FTA ROUND BY YEAR-END
Trade officials from Australia and the EU are expected to hold a 9th round of FTA talks this year as Australia pursues significantly enhanced market access for its farm produce. This follows an 8th round which saw more than 65 video sessions in September.
US BANS MALAYSIAN PALM OIL
US Customs has issued a detention order to detain palm oil and palm oil products made by FGV Holdings Berhad. It follows a year-long US investigation into allegations that forced labour was being used in its manufacture. FGV has said it will continue to work to clear its name.
AIR SUPPORT QUERIED AT THE WTO
Australia and NZ have been asked at the WTO to explain how their COVID-19 air freight support schemes are not export subsidies. They argued the schemes were temporary, targeted and emergency measures. Australia’s scheme has been allocated $317m until mid-2021.
TAIWAN SIGNS WITH BELIZE
Taiwan has signed a preferential trade agreement with Belize, one of the few states with which Taiwan has diplomatic relations. The two economies first explored the concept of an economic cooperation agreement in 2014 and concluded the agreement with negotiations in 2019.