Trade Talk

8 February 2013

Australia

2012 trade data released

Australia's goods and services exports surpassed $300 billion in 2012 for the second calendar year running, according to new data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australia recorded a seasonally-adjusted trade deficit of $427 million in December 2012 - an 85 per cent improvement on the revised $2.8 billion November deficit, and the largest month-on-month recovery in the trade balance since April 2010.

ABS: International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia, Dec 2012

Media release: Trade deficit narrows in December

New Parliamentary Secretary for Trade

Victorian MP Kelvin Thomson was this week sworn in as Australia's new Parliamentary Secretary for Trade as part of Prime Minister Julia Gillard's cabinet reshuffle. Mr Thomson replaces The Hon Justine Elliot MP.

Media Release: Changes to the Ministry

World

Plurilateral services agreement – call for public submissions

Australia has been leading, with the United States, discussions on a plurilateral services agreement in Geneva. The agreement is aimed at developing a ‘new pathway' on services trade reform that will support the multilateral trading system. DFAT is seeking submissions from interested stakeholders that will assist in assessing the costs and benefits of a plurilateral services agreement and in formulating Australia's priorities and objectives in negotiations.

DFAT: Trade in Services Agreement

Japan's Trade Policy in 2013

The Brookings Institution has released analysis of Japan's trade policy direction in 2013, as it considers four major trade negotiations: the China-Japan-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, an FTA with the European Union, and membership to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. With potential export coverage of around 77 per cent, these ‘Big Four' agreements are top priorities on Japan's agenda this year.

Brookings Institution: Japan's Trade Policy in 2013: Possibilities and Pitfalls

Supply chain trade and the WTO

Policy portal Vox has published two opinion pieces on the impact of supply-chain trade on global trade architecture. Richard Baldwin writes that the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has not kept pace with the need for new rules on trade, investment, intellectual property and services, and that a new international organisation is needed: a ‘WTO 2.0'. In his article ‘How much global trade governance should there be?', Simon Lester argues that the WTO should focus on reducing protectionist barriers, leaving responsibility for issues such as intellectual property and regulatory expropriation to governments.

Vox: WTO 2.0: Thinking ahead on global trade governance

Vox: How much global trade governance should there be?

Did you know?

Australia's fruit and nut industry was booming last year. Nearly $671 million worth of produce was exported in 2012 – that's 26 per cent more than 2011.

Visit the DFAT trade portal for more on Australian trade, including FTA updates and the latest trade statistics.