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

United States Trade Policy Under a Biden Presidency: Challenges and Opportunities

By 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?

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Australia-UK relations and the CPTPP

By Richard Pomfret, Professor of Economics & Jean Monnet Chair Economics of European Integration, the University of Adelaide. On 17 September Jean Monnet Chair Richard Pomfret participated in an online discussion on Potential Benefits Of An Australia-Uk Free Trade Agreement with Elisabeth Bowes, Chief Negotiator, Regional Trade Agreements Division, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Vivien Life, Director Asia and Australasia Negotiations within the UK Department for International Trade. The webinar was chaired by Peter Draper, Executive Director of the Institute for International Trade at The University of Adelaide.

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Managing the risks of rising government support: a case for policy transparency

Ken Ash is an Independent Consultant, IIT Visiting Fellow, and former OECD Director of Trade and Agriculture. Governments generally support the smooth functioning of their domestic economies, through maintaining systems of good governance and the rule of law and ensuring a coherent macroeconomic and structural policy environment. Extraordinary support is sometimes also warranted, as is the case today to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19. Few would dispute that these are essential roles for governments.

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New Data links Outward Investment in Services to Australia’s Services Export Performance

Jane Drake-Brockman is Industry Professor with the Institute for International Trade and Founder of the Australian Services Roundtable, which in 2020 celebrates its 20th anniversary. Measurement of trade in services is notoriously difficult. The official statistics on imports and exports contained in the Balance of Payments (BOP) are well known, for example, as measuring poorly at best only three of the four modes of international supply of services.

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China-EU Bilateral Investment Treaty negotiations in a crucial time: A Chinese Perspective

By Chenye Zhang, IIT Visiting Researcher and PhD Candidate at the University for International Business and Economics.
A Chinese perspective: In November 2013 BIT negotiations between China and the EU officially commenced. The goal was to reach a high-level agreement covering investment protection and market access. At the China-EU Summit in 2019, both parties reached consensus on achieving a high-level BIT by the end of 2020. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has caused difficulties, China and the EU have been actively pushing the negotiations forward.

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Resilient Teams for Trade

By Lisa Hunt, Business Manager, Institute for International Trade, The University of Adelaide and Professor Peter Draper, Executive Director, Institute for International Trade, The University of Adelaide. 
Over the past four months COVID-19 has exacerbated existing trade and geopolitical tensions, fuelled scepticism about the benefits of globalisation and seen already high-levels of economic uncertainty rise. As governments across the globe respond to protect their citizens lives and livelihoods, the resulting restrictions on the movement of people, capital, goods and services across borders has proven catastrophic for many businesses working in Global Value Chains (GVCs).

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What can Australia gain from agricultural subsidy reform?

By Kym Anderson, George Gollin Professor Emeritus, School of Economics, University of Adelaide; CEPR Fellow; and Honorary Professor of Economics, Arndt-Corden Dept of Economics, Australian National University.
Even though
research earlier this century suggested market access barriers were far more important than domestic subsidies in restricting global farm trade, new analysis suggests farm subsidies have become far more important in recent years.



The Perfect Storm: Interventionism, Inequality, Decoupling and Zombies

By Carlos A. Primo Braga, Associate Professor, Fundação Dom Cabral and former Director, Economic Policy and Debt, The World Bank.
Covid-19 already ranks among the most impactful pandemics of the last 100 years. Most governments have put their economies in a temporary “coma” with a view to mitigate the spread of the virus (SARS-CoV2). This inevitably increases the economic pain associated with the pandemic in the short run and generates pressures for a quick return to normality. Lessons from the past, however, suggest that the health crisis can go on for much longer than most politicians anticipate.



COVID-19 provides a rare chance for Australia to set itself apart from other regional powers. It can create a Pacific ‘bubble’

By Peter Draper Executive Director: Institute for International Trade, University of Adelaide and Jim Redden Senior Lecturer & Visiting Fellow, Institute for International Trade, University of Adelaide.
For a short time Australia has an unrivalled opportunity to set itself apart from donors to the Pacific including China, Japan and the European UnionAs Victoria’s current COVID-19 spike shows, it will take Australia some time to open its borders to the world and allow residents to travel wherever they like. But there’s no reason why it shouldn’t open its borders to some parts of the world sooner than others, especially those in which it has a special interest and in which the spread of coronavirus is slowing.



Brexit Done, A UK-EU Trade Agreement to Go?

By Richard Pomfret, Professor of Economics & Jean Monnet Chair Economics of European Integration, the University of Adelaide
A trade agreement between the UK and EU27 looks in trouble. The UK left the EU on 31 January. 2020 is the transition year when the Withdrawal Agreement is implemented and the UK and EU reach agreement on their future relations.  Distracted by COVID, some people, e.g. Irish deputy PM Simon Coveney, argue that this timeframe for reaching agreement in future relations is too short, while UK negotiators insist that the deadline is non-negotiable.



Responding to COVID-19: A key role for ASEAN in the region

By Milton Churche and Michael Mugliston, visiting fellows, Institute for International Trade, University of Adelaide.
A key characteristic of the health and economic crises unleashed by Covid-19 is the very high degree of uncertainty over the course of the disease, the trajectory of the economic downturn and the roadmap for restoring sustained economic growth. Indexes measuring global policy uncertainty are showing unprecedented levels of uncertainty. The World Pandemics Uncertainty Index that measures economic uncertainty associated with pandemics and other disease outbreaks since 1996 is at record highs.



India’s Trade Policy: Embracing national interests and selective engagement

By Amitendu Palit, Senior Economic and Trade Policy Research Fellow at the Institute of South Asian Studies in the National University of Singapore.
Six months have passed since India decided to stay out of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). With the rest of the RCEP members going ahead with the agreement and finalizing its text, India is unlikely to be a part of RCEP in the foreseeable future. This is notwithstanding the hint dropped by India’s external affairs minister Dr. S Jaishankar earlier in the year on India ‘rethinking’ the decision.