A WTO challenge to China’s internet censorship is long overdue

View of a Baidu office building in Shenzhen city, Guangdong province, 2 March 2016. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Claude Barfield, AEI

For the first time this year, the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) ‘National Trade Estimate Report’ took note of China’s Great Firewall. Granted, it was with this tame statement: ‘China’s filtering of cross-border Internet traffic has posed a significant burden to foreign suppliers’. Read more…

China’s negotiation strategies at the crossroads of international trade

Chinese Minister of Commerce Dr Gao Hucheng speaks during the signing ceremony of the Free Trade Agreement between Australia and China.

Authors: He Fan, CASS, and Xiaoming Pan, SIIS

The international trading system is at a crossroads. While the Doha Round of WTO negotiations remains deadlocked, new trade rules are being called for to adjust for new realities, such as the expansion of global value chains (GVCs). This means for the first time since the establishment of the WTO in 1995, regionalism has prospered over multilateralism, with the parallel emergence of three mega-regional trade negotiation platforms. With this in mind, China must reconsider its approach to negotiating trade agreements. Read more…

Is China a market economy?

China anti-dumping case

Authors: Gary Clyde Hufbauer and Cathleen Cimino-Isaacs, PIIE

There’s a potential mega-battle brewing over trade rules and the provision of market economy status for China that could reach the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2016.

Whether particular countries grant China market economy status has important implications for the adjudication of anti-dumping cases. Read more…

A Swiss-cheese approach to foreign investment isn’t in Australia’s interests

Australia's foreign investment regime has become needlessly complicated, with new discriminatory rules in areas such as agriculture. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: Shiro Armstrong, Sam Reinhardt and Tom Westland, ANU

Once you start picking away at something, it can be hard to stop. Australia’s foreign investment regime is a case in point: successive free trade negotiations have seen welcome liberalisation, but only for selected countries. And without a clear guiding strategy, this piecemeal approach threatens to turn the regulatory regime into a mess that is difficult to navigate and discourages foreign investment. Read more…

Getting trade and currency policy instruments and objectives mixed up

US President Barack Obama delivers remarks on trade and the economy from in Oregon, USA, 8 May 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

Trade flows are clearly linked to the value of national currencies. This is the innocuous starting point that leads the political classes and lobbyists in America into a pickle over the incorporation of clauses that seek to protect against ‘currency manipulation’ into trade agreements like the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement that is being pushed by the Obama administration as the economic arm of its pivot towards Asia. Read more…

Keep currency clauses out of the global trading system

People protesting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) gather as US President Barack Obama attends a fund raiser for the Democratic National Committee in Oregon, 7 May 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Sourabh Gupta, Samuels International

Ever since the post-gold standard age of adjustable exchange rates was inaugurated in the mid-1930s to consensually engineer a negotiated depreciation, the question of exchange rates and of trade have been entwined and subject to international oversight. Read more…

China flexes its muscles at APEC with the revival of FTAAP

United States President Barack Obama and China's President Xi Jinping in Beijing at the APEC CEO Summit on 10 November 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Mireya Solís, Brookings Institution

The 2014 APEC leaders’ summit witnessed a string of successes in Chinese trade diplomacy. Key among these successes was the endorsement of China’s signature trade initiative as APEC host: the realisation sooner rather than later of a Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP). Read more…