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The China-Australia FTA is more important to Canberra than Beijing, placing China at a distinct advantage. www.shutterstock.com

The noodle-bowl effect: Australian trade is increasingly complex

Fact: over 585 regional trade agreements have been signed. Almost 400 are already operating. Australia is a signatory to at least 12 of them. An intricate web of cross-cutting free trade agreements (FTAs…
Advocates of free trade often overlook the goals - and the people - that free trade deals leave behind. Jeff Tan/AAP

Beware overselling the case for free trade

Following a fortnight of intense Australian international engagement in APEC and the G20, last week saw the culmination of nearly a decade’s worth of negotiations with China over a much-anticipated free…
Latin American countries, including Argentina, represent a significant trade opportunity for Australia. Alex Proimos/Flickr

Latin America the overlooked trade giant of Australia’s G20

While much of Australia’s media has been covering Abbott’s macho stance on Russian President Vladimir Putin, the G20 meetings will be focusing on how best to improve global trade, which severely declined…
Australia’s reputation for strict farming standards helped its beef industry weather the BSE crisis. Malcolm Paterson/CSIRO/Wikimedia Commons

Australia shouldn’t sacrifice food safety standards for free trade

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…
The Abbott governments rush to sign bilateral trade deals with countries including Japan has meant quality has been sacrificed. Alan Porritt/AAP

Australia’s trade negotiating strategy fundamentally flawed

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…
Who read the fine print? US president George W. Bush signs the US-Australia Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act in the White House Rose Garden in August 2004. EPA/Matthew Cavanaugh

A decade on, is the Australia-US FTA fit for the 21st century?

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…
Reforming prime ministers don’t always have the luxury of choice. Julian Smith/AAP

Whitlam made the case for reform: an enduring economic legacy

“Men make history,” Karl Marx wrote in 1859 in his Critique of Political Economy, “but not always in circumstances of their own choosing". Whitlam himself would have chosen a different year to be his time…
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. 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. 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…
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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…

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