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 trade […]

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

< p> 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 […]

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 productivity […]

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 worst […]