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

< 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 […]

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 […]