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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, NZ & UK TO START FTA TALKS
Australia and New Zealand both launched FTA negotiations with the United Kingdom this week. The two economies will negotiate separately with the UK. Negotiations are expected to start by video conference in July and will also be separate to EU negotiations.

OTTAWA GROUP’S ACTION AGENDA
The Ottawa Group, convened by Canada and with Australia and NZ among its 13 members, met by video this week and added to its WTO reform agenda with a 6-point action plan including transparency, trade facilitation, open farm trade and deeper stakeholder engagement.

JAPAN RATIFIES ASEAN AGREEMENT
Japan has completed its ratification of its trade agreement with ASEAN. The revised agreement will apply on August 1 for Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Laos and Myanmar. Launched in 2008 as a goods agreement, it has now been expanded to include services and investment.

INDONESIA LAUNCHES CARPET INQUIRY
Indonesia has launched a safeguard inquiry into imports of carpet and other textile floor coverings. It follows a claim by the Indonesia Textile Association that imports were damaging the domestic industry. Safeguard inquiries can lead to emergency short-term tariffs.

NEW ZEALAND & SINGAPORE SIGN DIGITAL AGREEMENT
NZ, Singapore and Chile have signed a Digital Economy Partnership Agreement. The agreement was signed at an online ceremony. Trade Minister Parker said the agreement was timely given COVID-19’s impact on how international trade was conducted.

AUSTRALIA LAUNCHES NEW GROUP
Australia will establish a Ministerial Advisory Committee to advise the Government on its trade agenda. The committee of business, industry and community leaders will be co-chaired by Trade Minister Birmingham and Australia Post chief executive Christine Holgate.

INDIA SUFFERS BIG TRADE FALL
India’s trade was hard hit by COVID-19 in May. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has reported that goods exports were down by 36% compared to a year earlier and imports were down by 51%. Big export falls were reported for leather goods, carpets, jewellery and textiles.

AUSTRALIA TO GET NEW TRADE BOSS
Australia’s global trade promotion and investment agency Austrade will soon have a new chief executive to replace Dr Stephanie Fahey. Dr Fahey, appointed to the position in 2017 after a career in academia and business, will step down in July.

SOUTH KOREA & CAMBODIA TO LAUNCH FTA TALKS
South Korea and Cambodia are expected to begin FTA negotiations in July. This follows a feasibility study by the two economies. It will also follow recent FTA negotiations over three rounds of between China and Cambodia.

VIETNAM PURSUES TOP RICE EXPORTER STATUS
Trade Minister Tran this week forecast surging exports could see Vietnam become the world’s biggest rice exporter in 2020. It followed the lifting of an export quota in May. Vietnam is looking to export up to 7 million tonnes compared to 6.1 million tonnes in 2019

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