The US National Foreign Trade Council has released a short paper (PDF file) endorsing a “critical mass” (CM) approach to new WTO-associated trade agreements, without, however, producing any new ideas on how to accomplish this in the current multilateral trade framework. A top U.S. business group, frustrated with years of stalemate in world trade talks, […]
United States manufacturers, like their Australian counterparts, are indulging some hyperbolic alarm about their future, but for different reasons. U.S. economic growth seems too anaemic to support demand in the sector; Australia’s economic growth seem to be bypassing it. Still, this self-interested plea in the NYT from a director of GE for public subsidies (“innovation […]
The Berlusconi government has announced a package of emergency measures to liberalize the Italian economy that includes a “constitutional” change to speed up the liberalisation of professional services. The measures included a plan to amend the constitution to make a balanced budget mandatory, a second constitutional change that would force “closed professions” to liberalise services, […]
By 2030 China, especially, dramatically increases its share of world imports of agriculture, fossil fuels and services, according to the World Bank’s modelling Note, too, the projected share of low and middle-income economies in world trade in 2030: up from a third to a half.
The usually well-informed ITSCD Bridges Newsletter tries to explain it with a bit of tabloid alliteration: ‘Political Paralysis Poisons WTO Agriculture Talks’. Nah! It’s a political choice to put the talks on life-support and it will be a political choice to pull the tubes. It’s Doha that’s in rigor, not the pollies. The Doha Round […]
ASEAN accounts for just under 20 percent of Australia’s trade ($81bn in 20087–8), so the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) that has now been submitted to parliaments for ratification is potentially a big deal.
How big it is difficult to say from a quick review. This is an extensive agreement with a lot of details that will take careful evaluation. It is apparently the most ambitious and liberal FTA the ASEAN countries have ever signed with non-Members. It seems to be much more ambitious than their deals with China or Japan.
But the Agreement has a number of exceptions in the goods chapters in Indonesia, for example, and some very-long implementation horizons for potentially important trading partners such such as Vietnam that could reduce its commercial value. The services chapter seems to offer some useful but not-extensive improvements in access to the strongly protected markets of ASEAN (professional, legal, accounting services chiefly) and there are some modest improvements in movements of essential personnel (mostly by Australia/NZ).
The ‘fact sheets’ produced by DFAT provide summaries that are a good place start with the evaluation. Below, an extract that seems to me to be among the highlights: a summary table of showing the percentage of Australia’s base period (2005) goods exports that will be duty-free by the end of the implementation period (2025 in some cases) and in three intervening years.