Monthly Archives: April 2011

Trade policies reviewed by WTO

The WTO report on Australia’s trade poli­cies, issued ear­li­er this month, urges action to secure the gains from the min­er­als boom “A major eco­nom­ic chal­lenge con­fronting Aus­tralia, with poten­tial trade pol­i­cy impli­ca­tions, is to for­mu­late appro­pri­ate macro­eco­nom­ic and struc­tur­al poli­cies to facil­i­tate rather than impede adjust­ment to the effects of its great­ly improved terms of […]

Let it go, Pascal

This week, in Gene­va “[WTO Direc­­tor-Gen­er­al Pas­cal] Lamy recent­ly out­lined the next steps in the process, spec­i­fy­ing that the chairs of the var­i­ous nego­ti­at­ing groups would table doc­u­ments — which sources indi­cate could be in the form of reports or new text, depend­ing on the top­ic — on 21 April for mem­bers to reflect on […]

A small ado

Pre­dictably, some trades union lead­ers are trum­pet­ing oppo­si­tion to the Gillard-Emmer­­son trade pol­i­cy state­ment: Trad­ing our way to more jobs and pros­per­i­ty.But their blus­ter is unde­served. The state­ment makes no con­crete pro­pos­als for new (or even few­er) trade nego­ti­a­tions and iden­ti­fies no spe­cif­ic eco­nom­ic reforms such as cut­ting Australia’s mar­ket access bar­ri­ers for ser­vices, invest­ment […]

Sounds good, but…

The cur­rent Labor gov­ern­ment, unlike the Hawke gov­ern­ments, seems bent on announc­ing major pub­lic poli­cies as faits accom­plis and con­sult­ing on the ratio­nale and imple­men­ta­tion only afterwards…if at all. “Trade Min­is­ter Craig Emer­son, who was Bob Hawke’s eco­nom­ic advis­er, will announce the new [trade] pol­i­cy today. It fol­lows debate with­in Labor about how to tack­le […]

The falling value of tariff bindings

The strongest argu­ment for com­plet­ing the WTO’s bare­ly endur­ing Doha round of trade nego­ti­a­tions is that it will fur­ther nar­row the legal right of WTO mem­bers to adopt high­er pro­tec­tive trade bar­ri­ers in the future. But that argu­ment doesn’t seem to sway any­one much: cer­tain­ly not busi­ness­es who have large­ly lost inter­est in the WTO’s […]


From Ter­ry Pratchett’s Richard Dim­ble­by (BBC) lec­ture on the expe­ri­ence of pro­gres­sive demen­tia. “You see, the dis­ease moves slow­ly, but you know it’s there. Imag­ine that you’re in a very, very slow motion car crash. Noth­ing much seems to be hap­pen­ing. There’s an occa­sion­al lit­tle bang, a crunch, a screw pops out and spins across […]

The blind bouncer: arrogant and costly

The Trea­sur­er has appar­ent­ly told the media that the For­eign Invest­ment Review Board “unan­i­mous­ly” rec­om­mend­ed the pro­hi­bi­tion of the Sin­ga­pore Stock Exchange’s bid to merge with (or take over) the Aus­tralian Secu­ri­ties Exchange. What does “una­nim­i­ty” mean or mat­ter in secret tri­bunal? Noth­ing what­ev­er. Swan should draw no com­fort from that. But by far the […]