2012 trade data released
Australia's goods and services exports surpassed $300 billion in 2012 for the second calendar year running, according to new data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australia recorded a seasonally-adjusted trade deficit of $427 million in December 2012 - an 85 per cent improvement on the revised $2.8 billion November deficit, and the largest month-on-month recovery in the trade balance since April 2010.
Media release: Trade deficit narrows in December
New Parliamentary Secretary for Trade
Victorian MP Kelvin Thomson was this week sworn in as Australia's new Parliamentary Secretary for Trade as part of Prime Minister Julia Gillard's cabinet reshuffle. Mr Thomson replaces The Hon Justine Elliot MP.
Media Release: Changes to the Ministry
Plurilateral services agreement – call for public submissions
Australia has been leading, with the United States, discussions on a plurilateral services agreement in Geneva. The agreement is aimed at developing a ‘new pathway' on services trade reform that will support the multilateral trading system. DFAT is seeking submissions from interested stakeholders that will assist in assessing the costs and benefits of a plurilateral services agreement and in formulating Australia's priorities and objectives in negotiations.
Japan's Trade Policy in 2013
The Brookings Institution has released analysis of Japan's trade policy direction in 2013, as it considers four major trade negotiations: the China-Japan-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, an FTA with the European Union, and membership to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. With potential export coverage of around 77 per cent, these ‘Big Four' agreements are top priorities on Japan's agenda this year.
Brookings Institution: Japan's Trade Policy in 2013: Possibilities and Pitfalls
Supply chain trade and the WTO
Policy portal Vox has published two opinion pieces on the impact of supply-chain trade on global trade architecture. Richard Baldwin writes that the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has not kept pace with the need for new rules on trade, investment, intellectual property and services, and that a new international organisation is needed: a ‘WTO 2.0'. In his article ‘How much global trade governance should there be?', Simon Lester argues that the WTO should focus on reducing protectionist barriers, leaving responsibility for issues such as intellectual property and regulatory expropriation to governments.