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A trade spat between India and the US was the most serious threat to the WTO in years. Reuters

Why the WTO still matters

Despite sluggishness in the world economy, global trade reached an astonishing US$23 trillion last year. The World Trade Organization has been the primary guarantor of this extraordinary growth in global…
Australia is now the most China-dependent economy in the world – does this pose a problem for our future? AAP/Alan Porritt

Australia’s China dependence: do we need a Plan B?

If something can’t go on for ever, it won’t. – Herb Stein, chief economic adviser to former US president Richard Nixon. China’s economic rise has been a good news story for Australia. According to most…
Golden handshake. Abe and Xi meet on the sidelines of the APEC meeting on Beijing. Kim Kyung-Hoon/Pool/EPA

APEC summit shows how hard it is to define the Asian ‘region’

With considerable pomp and circumstance – and at considerable expense – it fell to China to host the annual APEC summit this year. If it lives long in the memory at all, the meeting will probably be remembered…
The heart of the matter. The container port at Long Beach. sunslate

Europe faces weapons of legal destruction in USA trade talks

Efforts to build a more effective trading regime between Europe and the USA can reasonably be called positive, both for growth and the ease of doing business. Currently, however, negotiations include proposals…
Central to the processes of the PBS is the idea that drugs with identical or similar clinical outcomes should have similar prices. Thinglass/Shutterstock

How the US trade deal undermined Australia’s PBS

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…
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…
It’s not yet clear how the Coalition will weigh health issues against economic priorities. jdwfoto/Shutterstock

Coalition’s policy bodes ill for health in free trade negotiations

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…
Time for Brazil to pull in the harvest? Sweeter Alternative

Hard Evidence: who will reap rewards from Russia farm sanctions?

The Russian ban on the imports of some agricultural products from the US, the European Union, Australia, Canada and Norway has sparked much debate over the likely impact on American and European farmers…
Is this really necessary? EPA

Seeking an easy win on carbon emissions? Cut global trade

The Obama administration has proposed several ad hoc multi-country economic agreements, and in doing so has abandoned de facto the World Trade Organization (WTO) as insufficiently malleable to its interests…
In the same week Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is to visit India, Indian PM Modi has visited Japan. Toru Hanai/EPA/AAP

Abbott in India: the Asian Century won’t be all about China

Despite recent slumps in economic growth (now at just over 5.4% compared to 10.3% in 2010), former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh this year handed the new Prime Minister Narendra Modi a much more…
The Australian government hopes to finalise the Free Trade Agreement with China by the end of the year. PARKER SONG / POOL/ AAP

Why China-Australia FTA may still be some way off

This week treasurer Joe Hockey, and trade minister Andrew Robb have been in China for the inaugural Australia-China Strategic Economic Dialogue. These talks are one part of the “Strategic Partnership…
There is scant evidence that ‘aid for trade’ programs have any impact on lifting the poorest people globally out of poverty. EPA/Yahya Arhab

Does ‘aid for trade’ really help reduce poverty?

Even before assuming office, foreign minister Julie Bishop was clear on the Coalition’s approach to foreign aid: “aid for trade” was touted as the primary strategy of the Coalition’s aid program. Last…

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