News: Policy Brief
Geostrategic Tensions Manifesting as Trade Conflict: Policy Recommendations for rebuilding Australia-China relations
Co Authors: Mike Adams, former Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) economist, Ron Wickes, former Director of the Trade Analysis Section of DFAT and Nicolas Brown, former head of DFAT’s branch responsible for analysis and strategic advice on trade.
China-Australia diplomatic relations are at their lowest point in decades, reflected in trade relations that have become increasingly strained by Beijing’s coercive tactics. Acknowledging that there is little chance of getting back to the positive relationship that Australia and China enjoyed just four or five years ago, this brief argues for a pragmatic diplomatic approach where trade can support a revival of mutually beneficial and broad-based trade and investment relations with China. This need not be at the cost of security and broader strategic interests and could in fact enhance them, irrespective of cultural, political and historical differences.
Professor Xiankun LU is former senior trade diplomat of China to the WTO and now Managing Director of the consulting firm LEDECO Geneva.
The polarized positions in the WTO, particularly between the US and China, on developing country status and ‘special and differential treatment’ (S&D), makes it not only difficult to find a solution on this issue, but also impossible to foresee solutions on other issues demanding WTO reform.
Carlos A. Primo Braga is an Adjunct Professor, Fundação Dom Cabral, Brazil.
The commercial and geopolitical conflict between China and the United States is unlikely to abate in the coming years. This brief discusses the contours of recent geopolitical history in order to contextualize the nature of this new “Cold War” between the two superpowers.
Mike Humphrey Senior Trade Advisor at the Institute for International Trade at the University of Adelaide.
As is the case with most governments world-wide, the Australian government’s concern regarding the recovery from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis has been how to reboot the domestic economy and international trade as rapidly as possible.
Visiting Fellow Milton Churche. Milton Churche left the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 2018 after working on trade policy since 1987.
The Trump administration has called into question the value of trade agreements, including of the World Trade Organization (WTO), abused the concept of national security to justify openly trade protectionist actions, invoked “trade wars” as legitimate policy tools to advance national objectives, and moved in the direction of managed trade. Would a Biden presidency bring a decisive change in direction on US trade policy?
Dr Naoise McDonagh, Lecturer in Political Economy, Institute for International Trade, University of Adelaide and Professor Peter Draper, Executive Director, Institute for International Trade, The University of Adelaide.
The role of the state and market-distorting state intervention in the global economy have come increasingly to the fore in recent times, in large part as reaction to China’s rise to becoming the second largest world economy, and a direct competitor with developed economies across many sectors.
Professor Peter Draper - Executive Director Institute for International Trade; Simon Lacey - Senior Lecturer Institute for International Trade, Mike Humphrey - Senior Trade Advisor Institute for International Trade; Dr Naoise McDonagh Lecturer Institute for International Trade.
This policy brief was originally drafted as a submission to an Australian parliamentary inquiry seeking input from Australian firms and individuals on policy solutions across a broad range of areas as Australia continues to ride out the storm wreaked by the global pandemic COVID-19. It begins by exhorting Australia’s political leaders to recognize both the extreme severity of the socio-economic challenges the country faces at this time, but also the unique opportunity these challenges present for visionary leadership and positive change, the effects of which will define Australia for future generations.
By Professor Peter Draper - Institute for International Trade
If ever the G20, the self-styled apex forum for international economic cooperation, needed to step up to the plate it is now. However, while it did so for the 2009 London Summit - in the eye of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) - it is highly unlikely to this time. It is also not clear what the definition of success is, unlike the GFC when the core objective was to save Western financial systems from collapse. Each G20 country is correctly focused on managing its own health trajectory, with little policy bandwidth left to devote to international economic cooperation.
Industrial subsidies, state-owned enterprises and market distortions: Problems, proposals and a path forward
Weinian Hu - Research Fellow at Centre for European Policy Studies, Belgium.
Industrial subsidisation is an area identified for WTO rule-strengthening by the European Union (EU) and the Trilateral Trade Ministerial Cooperation (hereafter Trilateral Cooperation). The aim is to curb certain trade practices spearheaded by China’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs), which allegedly engender over-capacity, distort markets and undermine the effectiveness of the WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (ASCM). The obligations of transparency and notification prescribed by the ASCM require strengthening, too.
What future for the global trading system amid trade, technological and geopolitical confrontations?
By Anabel Gonzalez - Independent consultant on Trade and Investment.
With trade conflicts, new technologies and geopolitical competition reshaping the global economy, the trade and investment policy landscape is rapidly changing. While different scenarios are playing out, managed trade is gaining traction, rules are increasingly fragmented in competing spheres of influence and global trade governance is weakening. The World Trade Organization (WTO) is under strain and the business environment is more uncertain, volatile and increasingly power-driven than before.
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