Trade Talk 10 December 2018
Taking action on non-tariff trade barriers
The Australian Government has launched a new Action Plan to help Australian farmers and businesses tackle trade barriers. The Action Plan will better identify and address unfair obstacles and make it as easy as possible for our exporters to sell their high-quality goods and services to the world. A dedicated non-tariff barriers website and coordination team will make it simpler for businesses to report trade barriers and find the help they need to overcome them.
New Economic and Commercial Diplomacy Agenda
The Australian Government's new Economic and Commercial Diplomacy Agenda, launched on 30 November, will help Australian businesses identify commercial opportunities and navigate the challenges of operating in overseas markets. The Agenda prioritises ongoing and effective engagement with business and promoting Australia as an attractive place to invest, study and visit.
Joint Leaders' Statement on the RCEP Negotiations
After their meeting in Singapore on 14 November, leaders of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership countries – the ASEAN members and their FTA partners Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea, and New Zealand – issued a Joint Statement noting negotiations had advanced to the final stage and that they were determined to conclude a modern, comprehensive, high quality, and mutually beneficial RCEP in 2019.
Round two of Australia-EU FTA negotiations
The second round of Australia-European Union Free Trade Agreement negotiations took place in Canberra on 19-23 November. Discussions covered goods and market access, including modalities and the level of ambition for initial offers, and services and investment. Agreement was reached on provisions in a number of areas of the negotiations.
Australia - economic update
The National Accounts for the September quarter show Australia's trade surplus widened from $3.9 billion in the June quarter to $6.6 billion in the September quarter as a result of exports of goods and services reaching record highs, with the value of merchandise goods increasing to $87 billion and the value of services exports rising to $24 billion. Trade has contributed over one-quarter of Australia's economic growth over the past five years.
Australian services exports continue to surge
According to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian services exports rose 7 per cent in 2017-18, up from $82.3 billion in the previous year. China remained Australia's largest services export market, valued at $16.9 billion, an increase of 17 per cent on 2016-17. This was followed by the United States, with services exports up 9.4 per cent to reach $9.2 billion.
Australia's top exporters recognised
Aspen Medical and SEAPA were the joint winners of the Australian Exporter of the Year award for 2018, announced at a national ceremony in Canberra on 27 November. Canberra based Aspen Medical has provided clinical services for the World Health Organization. South Australian company SEAPA is revolutionising the oyster farming industry.
G20 leaders commit to improve the functioning of the WTO
WTO Director-General Roberto AzevÃªdo welcomed the G20 Leaders' Communiqué agreed at the summit in Buenos Aires on 1 December. The Communiqué recognised the contribution the multilateral trading system has made to international trade and investment and the need for reform to improve its functioning. The Director-General also called on the G20 to act urgently to address the blockage in the WTO dispute settlement system.
United States – China working dinner at the G20
On 1 December, the United States announced it had agreed not to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese products from 10 to 25 per cent on 1 January 2019. China committed to purchase a not yet agreed upon, but 'very substantial' amount of agricultural, energy, industrial and other products from the US. The US will raise the tariffs if the parties are unable to reach an agreement within a 90-day period of negotiations on structural changes, including on forced technology transfer.
New US, Canada and Mexico trade agreement
The United States, Canada and Mexico signed the new United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement in Argentina on 30 November. The new agreement replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
What is the Trans-Pacific Partnership?
This Council on Foreign Relations backgrounder examines the TPP and its evolution into the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP-11). The TPP-11 will enter into force for its first tranche of member countries, including Australia, on 30 December 2018.
How the Belt and Road Initiative could reduce trade costs
This article examines potential reductions in shipping times and trade costs as a result of China's Belt and Road Initiative. The findings suggest the initiative could reduce shipment times by up to 3.2 per cent on average in the rest of the world, and by 4 per cent between China and other BRI economies.
The G20 at 10
David Gruen, Australia's G20 Sherpa, writes that at a time when support for multilateral institutions is under threat, the G20 represents the pinnacle of the global rules-based system, cemented in the firm foundation of each country's enlightened self-interest, where countries achieve more for themselves by working together.
Reimagining international cooperation
IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said 2019 could mark a turning point in the way countries cooperate, with actions including de-escalating trade tensions, improving the trading system, establishing new trade agreements, and reducing external imbalances having the potential to contribute to greater international cooperation in the future.
Did You Know?
Australian services exports have grown by over 50 per cent over the last five years.
Upcoming Trade Events----
Free Trade Agreements Information Seminar
Nowra, NSW, 11 December 2018
Find out how you can take advantage of Australia's Free Trade Agreements with China, Japan and Korea and newly signed agreements with Peru and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP-11) countries. This event will be hosted by Mark Coulton, Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment.
Opportunities to partner with Chinese companies in third-market infrastructure projects
Virtual event, 11 December 2018
This Austrade webinar aims to provide Australian companies with an overview of the Chinese engineering and construction landscape and outline opportunities and pathways to working with Chinese firms.
2019 Global Trade Outlook and the Northern Territory
Darwin, NT, 11 December 2018
At this Australia China Business Council Northern Territory event President Daryl Guppy will discuss the risks and opportunities for Northern Territory businesses engaged in international trade in China and the ASEAN region in 2019.
Expo 2020's Online Market Place
Until 31 Mar 2019, online event, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Expo 2020 Dubai has launched its global Online Marketplace (OMP) to allow companies to unlock business opportunities, forge international partnerships and drive growth. The OMP enables users to showcase their products, services and expertise to Expo 2020 and its participants, licensees and contractors, as well as other registered businesses.