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Analysis and Comment (32)

The Trans-Pacific Partnership agenda is again being driven by the US on behalf of its major export industries. The Trans-Pacific Partnership agenda is again being driven by the US on behalf of its major export industries. EPA/How Hwee Young

Trans-Pacific Partnership piles up challenges for democracy

Ten years on from the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement, Australia is entering another round of negotiations towards the new and controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership. In this Free Trade Scorecard series…
Diplomatic smiles and handshakes are in order when Chinese and US representatives meet, but separate trade talks driven by Beijing and Washington represent a high-stakes contest for influence. Diplomatic smiles and handshakes are in order when Chinese and US representatives meet, but separate trade talks driven by Beijing and Washington represent a high-stakes contest for influence. EPA/Michael Reynolds

Who calls the tune? Asia has to dance to duelling trade agendas

Ten years on from the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement, Australia is entering another round of negotiations towards the new and controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership. In this Free Trade Scorecard series…
Many Australian exporters find it difficult to crack the US government procurement market, while our policy leaves the door more open to US firms. Many Australian exporters find it difficult to crack the US government procurement market, while our policy leaves the door more open to US firms. Shutterstock

Australia’s procurement policy leaves our exporters behind

Ten years on from the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement, Australia is entering another round of negotiations towards the new and controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership. In this Free Trade Scorecard series…
China has many unique domestic issues influencing its approach to coal. China has many unique domestic issues influencing its approach to coal. Woo He/EPA/AAP

Chinese President Xi won’t get the ‘coal is good for humanity’ memo

On the surface, Joe Hockey’s analysis of the imposition by Chinese authorities of tariffs on coal imported from Australia as good old-fashioned protectionism seems straightforward. That at least is what…
Australia’s approach to trade policy is more thoughtful and calculating than it is given credit for by sections of the media, academia and the public who object to current negotiations. Australia’s approach to trade policy is more thoughtful and calculating than it is given credit for by sections of the media, academia and the public who object to current negotiations. AAP/Newzulu/Jeff Tan

Staying engaged on every front: Australia’s trade policy strategy

Ten years on from the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement, Australia is entering another round of negotiations towards the new and controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership. This is the first article in the…
China’s market for milk is huge, but not without its challenges. China’s market for milk is huge, but not without its challenges. Mark & Andrea Busse/Flickr

With a free trade deal Australia can win China’s dairy market

The clock is ticking down to the end of year deadline Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has given for sign off on a free trade agreement with China. In this China-Australia FTA series we explore what…
With the world watching, Australia’s FTA with China is likely to be more about diplomacy than economics. With the world watching, Australia’s FTA with China is likely to be more about diplomacy than economics. Parker Song/EPA/AAP

Bar set low for a ‘do no harm’ China-Australia FTA

The clock is ticking down to the end of year deadline Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has given for sign off on a free trade agreement with China. In this China-Australia FTA series we explore what…
Trades deals, such as the one between Australia and Singapore, may require extensive cooperation between the Commonwealth and states. Trades deals, such as the one between Australia and Singapore, may require extensive cooperation between the Commonwealth and states. AAP/EPA/Wallace Woon

Federalism reform and trade policy must go hand in hand

The reform of Australia’s federation is under review. In this special series, we ask leading Australian academics to begin a debate on renewing federalism, from tax reform to the broader issues of democracy…
Australia’s trade relationship with Russia looked better in 2007. Australia’s trade relationship with Russia looked better in 2007. Dean Lewins/AAP

Tough talk but little to lose on Russian trade sanctions

Poke a Russian bear with a stick and he will retaliate. That’s the lesson facing Australian exporters today. When Australia announced it would join the United States and Europe in placing trade sanctions…
News Corp Chairman Rupert Murdoch joined Alexander Shokhin, President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, and Business Council of Australia President Catherine Livingstone at the B20 summit this week. News Corp Chairman Rupert Murdoch joined Alexander Shokhin, President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, and Business Council of Australia President Catherine Livingstone at the B20 summit this week. Jason Reed/AAP/Reuters

The B20 summit: where cashed-up lobbyists meet to write trade rules?

The Business 20 (B20) summit typically attracts the global corporate glitterati, as the usual suspects assemble in alpine retreats like Davos; cinema-infused beach towns like Cannes; or sunny Mexican resorts…
Signing a Economic Partnership Agreement with Japan was the highlight of Tony Abbott’s whirlwind northeast Asia trip, which also took in China and South Korea. Signing a Economic Partnership Agreement with Japan was the highlight of Tony Abbott’s whirlwind northeast Asia trip, which also took in China and South Korea. EPA/Kimmasa Mayama

Abbott’s Asia trip comes off – for now

Prime minister Tony Abbott’s diplomatic and trade mission to northeast Asia can be hailed as a success. Overall, it met its main objectives. The trip has strengthened the already deepening relationship…
Achieving a free trade agreement with China would be a major achievement for the Abbott government given the obstacles currently in the way. Achieving a free trade agreement with China would be a major achievement for the Abbott government given the obstacles currently in the way. AAP/Daniel Munoz

Japan and free trade create twin challenges for Abbott in China

Despite the misgivings of the sceptics, prime minister Tony Abbott’s high-profile, potentially high-risk trade mission to northeast Asia could be a triumph. The free trade agreement (FTA) with Japan is…
Tony Abbott has declared Japan, under prime minister Shinzo Abe, as Australia’s ‘best friend in Asia’. But this might come at a cost as Abbott seeks to close a FTA with China. Tony Abbott has declared Japan, under prime minister Shinzo Abe, as Australia’s ‘best friend in Asia’. But this might come at a cost as Abbott seeks to close a FTA with China. EPA/Mast Irham

Abbott’s pursuit of Japan risks a free trade agreement with China

Prime minister Tony Abbott will be hoping the Japanese leg of his ambitious trade trip to northeast Asia can replicate the success of securing a free trade agreement (FTA) with South Korea. The close relations…
The fragile five economies have become surrogates for the developing world in meetings like the G20. The fragile five economies have become surrogates for the developing world in meetings like the G20. Shutterstock

Explainer: the G20 and the fragile five

Financial markets love to come up with snappy acronyms – you have all heard of BRICS, but there are many others, with the “fragile five” being the latest. The BIITS - Brazil, India, Indonesia, South Africa…
Meet Davos – your big new friend with questionable intentions. Meet Davos – your big new friend with questionable intentions. mike fischer

With culture on the free trade agenda, we must protect our own

You meet someone. Someone different. Someone attractive, open, free. Let’s call him Davos. You start seeing a lot of each other, hanging out as a couple. As always when you’re in a relationship, a degree…
The WTO negotiations have been plagued with irreconcilable differences from the start. The WTO negotiations have been plagued with irreconcilable differences from the start. Made Nagi/AAP

WTO struggles across the line in new era of policy malaise

The WTO Multilateral Trade Negotiations in Bali almost failed. By negotiating for one day beyond the scheduled conference time, 159 exhausted nations finally concluded an agreement. What’s at stake are…
Jetstar Hong Kong remains grounded, as it awaits government approval. Jetstar Hong Kong remains grounded, as it awaits government approval. danzden/Flickr

Asia should shine brighter for blinkered Qantas

The downgrade of Qantas' credit rating to junk status by Standard & Poor’s has sparked serious concern for the future of the airline. But the fact is the airline industry has largely been unprofitable…
Prime Minister Tony Abbott talks to Indonesian Finance Minister Chatib Basri during a business breakfast in Jakarta in October. Prime Minister Tony Abbott talks to Indonesian Finance Minister Chatib Basri during a business breakfast in Jakarta in October. Bagus Indahono/AAP

Australian trade with Indonesia: what’s really at stake?

Indonesia has a population ten times as big as that of Australia, but its per capita income is only one-tenth of Australia’s, so what’s really at risk if the trade relationship between the two countries…
A freer flow of money in and out of China presents opportunities for Australia. A freer flow of money in and out of China presents opportunities for Australia. SimonQ/Flickr

China is liberalising its banks, and that’s good news for Australia

China has signalled its intention, reiterated in the recent Third Plenum, to open up its financial markets. This would be an important reform which carries significant risks and opportunities both for…
Fewer trade hurdles won’t necessarily help Britain’s economy. Fewer trade hurdles won’t necessarily help Britain’s economy. Martin Rickett/PA

Dodgy economics of the transatlantic free trade deal

The Conservative Party’s 2010 general election manifesto could not have been clearer: “A sustainable recovery must be driven by growth in exports”. As George Osborne specified, the target was “net exports…
Concern over the transparency of TPP negotiations grew after it was revealed negotiating documents could not be released until four years after the completion of the negotiations. Concern over the transparency of TPP negotiations grew after it was revealed negotiating documents could not be released until four years after the completion of the negotiations. Azhar Rahim/AAP

The Trans-Pacific Partnership and Australia’s right to know

In the history of trade agreement negotiations, most have been undertaken in secret, justified on the grounds that the governments’ negotiating positions would be weakened if they became public. But this…
The economic argument for an FTA with China isn’t as strong as some may assume. The economic argument for an FTA with China isn’t as strong as some may assume. derekGavey/Flickr

Why an Australian FTA with China has never stacked up

Despite trade in goods and services between Australia and China exceeding A$125 billion in 2012, negotiations between the two countries for an FTA that began in 2005 have been so unproductive that both…
Australian firms fear Abbott may sign anything to get Xi Jinping’s name on the dotted line. Australian firms fear Abbott may sign anything to get Xi Jinping’s name on the dotted line. shutterstock.com

An FTA with China in 12 months is a big ask

Forget APEC. That is so 1997. Prime Minister Abbott has recently established an ambitious – not to mention exceedingly optimistic – deadline of 12 months to conclude a Free Trade Agreement with China…
The new government faces sorting out a complex mess of stalled talks on various free trade agreements. The new government faces sorting out a complex mess of stalled talks on various free trade agreements. AAP

Why embracing free trade may be more complicated than it looks

If headlines are to be believed, the new Coalition government is set to “embrace free trade” in its first term in office. In announcing his new Ministry last week, Tony Abbott has made significant changes…
Australia has embraced clean technology, but if we want to make a big difference we should free up clean tech trade. Australia has embraced clean technology, but if we want to make a big difference we should free up clean tech trade. Espen Klem

Want a big idea? Let’s lead the world and free up clean tech trade

In 2014, Australia will host the G20 Summit. The Prime Minister’s Office has been canvassing privately for a Big Idea to present, something to take the green debate forward and put Australia’s stamp on…
Julia Gillard has achieved a significant foreign policy coup in China, although progress has stalled on a bilateral free-trade agreement. Julia Gillard has achieved a significant foreign policy coup in China, although progress has stalled on a bilateral free-trade agreement. AAP

Gillard’s China visit: a silver platter for Abbott?

If you believe the opinion polls, Julia Gillard has had a very busy week in China setting the China policy direction and institutional framework for a future Coalition government. Tony Abbott must be delighted…
Trade Minister Craig Emerson is committed to pursuing a free trade agenda at the Doha Development Round. But will other countries follow suit? Trade Minister Craig Emerson is committed to pursuing a free trade agenda at the Doha Development Round. But will other countries follow suit? AAP

Can Australia revive the Doha Development Agenda?

Australian Trade Minister Craig Emerson’s opinion piece in The Weekend Australian, titled “Doha is no dodo as it takes off on new flight path”, brings new enthusiasm and life to the Doha Development Agenda…
There has been little debate around the proposed Defence Trade Controls Bill, which could criminalise common research activities. There has been little debate around the proposed Defence Trade Controls Bill, which could criminalise common research activities. Image sourced from www.shutterstock.com

Science and the slammer: the consequences of Australia’s new export control regime

At this moment, Australian Parliament is considering a Bill with far-reaching consequences for Australian research aimed at improving health, and fostering innovation in communications, mining, agriculture…
Australia’s resource relationships with Korea, China and Japan weigh heavily on the regional trade agenda. Australia’s resource relationships with Korea, China and Japan weigh heavily on the regional trade agenda. AAP

The hidden resource agenda within Australia’s Asian free trade agreements

With the emerging discourse on the ‘Asian Century’, it has become something of a national past-time in Australia to bemoan our lack of integration in the Asia-Pacific region. As the soon-to-be-released…
Indonesia’s Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Julia Gillard both have domestic issues to overcome. Indonesia’s Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Julia Gillard both have domestic issues to overcome. AAP

Mending Indonesia ties will take more than free trade

Indonesia has announced that it will finally join the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement in January next year, making it the last of the 12 states involved to formally to implement the agreement…
Strategic friendships: will Australia’s decision to sign up to Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement impact on our relationship with China? Strategic friendships: will Australia’s decision to sign up to Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement impact on our relationship with China? AAP

A ‘zhengyou’ to China? Signing with Obama on trade puts this friendship to the test

The task of simultaneously negotiating our traditional security and cultural ties with the US, and our burgeoning economic relationship with China, can justifiably be described as the “great foreign policy…
By 2050, China’s economy is projected to be as large as the US and India combined. By 2050, China’s economy is projected to be as large as the US and India combined. AAP

Doing business with China is a necessity, not a choice

Opposition leader Tony Abbott has sparked some controversy with his suggestion that Australia’s trade emphasis should be on Japan, rather than China. Abbott’s suggestion that it would be easier to negotiate…