Policy & Engagement

In recent years we have seen unprecedented debate concerning the legitimacy of trade agreements, widespread concern about the potential effects of globalisation and a dangerous resurgence of protectionism which has the potential to profoundly impact economic development and trade arrangements throughout the world. 

Today, more than ever, universities have a critical role to play in supporting the pursuit of effective, transparent and responsible trade policy which is both responsive to economic challenges and enables countries to capitalise on the opportunities presented by the global economy. 

The Institute for International Trade works closely with our partners to develop and maintain a deep dialogue with government, business, civil society and the wider public.

Analysis and IIT news

Australia and its partners in the global trading system, in 2024

A collection of Opinions - Australia and its partners in the global trading system, in 2024.
With 2024 now in full swing this collection takes stock of key developments in the global trading system likely to shape Australia’s trade policies this year, as well as those of key trading partners. There is much going on in the trade policy world, and a collection such as this cannot do justice to the full complexity. Instead, we asked renowned experts to reflect on topics they think will have an impact this year.

Read more about Australia and its partners in the global trading system, in 2024

Reforming Special and Differential Treatment for Developing Countries in the WTO

Aniekan Ukpe (Lex Mercatoria Solicitors, Abuja). Aniekan Ukpe is a partner at Lex Mercatoria Solicitors. Clara Weinhardt (Maastricht University). Clara Weinhardt is Assistant Professor in International Relations at Maastricht University. 
Traditionally, SDT is envisioned to help developing countries to develop their economies through exports, and to enable them to pursue policy options they consider appropriate for their development. Relying on voluntary graduation and political pressure, however, is less likely to work whenever WTO members seek to renegotiate existing developing country flexibilities.

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Seasons Greetings for 2023

The team at the Institute for International Trade would like to thank you for your ongoing support during 2023. Wishing you all a very safe and Happy Festive Season and Happy New Year! 

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Food, agriculture, and climate at COP28 – and beyond

Anthony Cox - Senior Policy Advisor at Ecologic Institute. Ken Ash - Visiting Fellow at the Institute for International Trade, University of Adelaide & Director of Ash Global Insights. COP28 will see a welcome focus on food systems and agriculture with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Presidency pressing governments to commit to integrating food and agriculture more effectively into their national climate agendas. Our latest policy brief by Anthony Cox and Ken Ash highlights priority areas for the assembling governments to move from political declarations to concrete action.

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2023 Australia-Thailand Economic Engagement Report

This report on the bilateral economic relationship between Australia and Thailand is part of an Australian Government focus to deepen trade and investment with the region in line with the Government’s Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040. It identifies products and sectors where both countries could be trading more with one another, areas where they can cooperate more closely on economic governance, and makes recommendations for strengthening political, institutional and people-to-people ties between the two economies.

Read more about 2023 Australia-Thailand Economic Engagement Report

Australia’s New International Development Directions and Implications for Trade in the Pacific

Jim Redden, is an External Trade and Development Advisor to DFAT, Director, Economic Development Services Ltd, and IIT Visiting FellowRecently Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong unveiled the government’s updated international development programme. In this Brief Visiting Fellow Jim Redden charts its contours, with focus on its Aid for Trade dimension in relation to the Pacific. This is particularly relevant to members of the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (Plus), which recently came into force and is starting to demonstrate substantial positive impacts. These countries stand to benefit from the variety of trade-related assistance now available under the new development programme.

Read more about Australia’s New International Development Directions and Implications for Trade in the Pacific



Whither (not Wither) Multilateralism: Priorities for G7 Trade Ministers

Ken Ash, Visiting Fellow, Institute for International Trade and formerly Director of Trade and Agriculture at the OECD. Is the high point in multilateral trade relations already 30 years in the past? Are notions of international cooperation and mutual benefit relics of an earlier time? Hopefully not, there is still much more to play for. Amidst the visible geopolitical tensions, and what often looks like a blurring of trade, economic, climate, and security interests, there are some encouraging signs recently. This brief considers prior developments that helped shape the nature of the trade policy debate today, offers an admittedly optimistic assessment of a renewed interest by G7 members in international cooperation, and highlights immediate priorities for action by G7 Trade Ministers



Much ado about Something? Australia’s Views on IPEF’s Prospects.

Recently the IPEF’s Pillar 2 text on Supply Chains was released. But what is IPEF, and what does it mean for Australia? In this paper, published by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (Tokyo) and NUS’s Institute for South Asian Studies, IIT Executive Director Professor Peter Draper canvasses the issues.



TRADE POLICY DECODED - New podcast launched!

International Trade (IIT) and the Australian Centre for International Trade and Investment (ACITI) are pleased to announce the launch of our Podcast Trade Policy Decoded – a podcast that shines a light on what’s happening in trade policy in Australia and around the world.



Europe and Africa: Interests and values must be aligned with mutual respect

Prof. Dr. Stefan Liebing is CEO and owner of Conjuncta GmbH, Prof. Dr. Andreas Freytag is Professor at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sharply escalated the incipient global contest for influence between the West and authoritarian powers. Africa, historically a stronghold of European influence, is one arena. Why aren’t African leaders supporting the international rule of law by moving to isolate Russia? In this article the authors argue that Europe needs to de-emphasise values and do more to elevate African trade and investment needs to the top of their engagement with Africa.



Quantifying the impact of Chinese coercion on key Australian commodity exports

Mike Adams former Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) economist, Ron Wickes former Director of the Trade Analysis Section of DFAT consider recent analyses of the costs of Chinese economic coercion to Australian exports. Whereas some argue those were relatively minor and easily absorbed, in their view the costs have been substantially higher than hitherto appreciated. Understanding the true costs has important implications for calibrating bilateral trade strategy towards China.



China’s Western Neighbours, and the Future of Eurasian Overland Trade

Richard Pomfret, Emeritus Professor of Economics, the University of Adelaide.
China’s flagship foreign policy, the Silk Road Economic Belt, was announced in 2013 in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan, and became part of the Belt and Road Initiative that was launched in May 2017.  Rail connections west through Kazakhstan were the key part of the overland “Belt”. President Xi has recently and publically confirmed the importance of this relationship, an act which has import in the context of the current Ukraine-Russia war, as argued in this op-ed