Free trade



1 Jul 2015

Big numbers have a tendency to take on a life of their own, writes Tom Westland

Economic modelling with unstated assumptions is a bit like chicken nuggets with unstated ingredients – one swallows at one’s own risk. And yet there’s been a lot...


24 Jun 2015

In 2013-14, Australian industry received over $17 billion in gross assistance from the Australian Government through budgetary outlays, tax concessions and tariffs according to the latest annual trade and assistance review by the Productivity Commission.

Notably, budgetary assistance to industry in 2013-14 was about...

Briefing paper

31 May 2015

This paper suggests a process for consultation with business, consumers and various levels of government that would enhance outcomes.


Australia has an open economy that is heavily dependent on trade for its wellbeing. Well formulated evidence based trade policy therefore matters...


29 Apr 2015

For decades New Zealand’s trade diplomacy outlook was decidedly gloomy. Yet, soon, the country could have preferential trade deals with 5 out of the top 5 export destinations and 17 out of the top 20.

Bilateral deals like the 2008 one with China (New...


15 Feb 2015

Drawing on leaked texts of potential provisions of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, this health impact assessment found the potential for negative impacts in the cost of medicines, tobacco control policies, alcohol control policies, and food labeling.


The Centre for Health...


15 Feb 2015

The Commission’s Issue Paper deals with the review of the Mutual Recognition Agreement (the MRA) and the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Arrangement (the TTMRA).

REIA’s response focusses on real estate professionals and addresses the Commission’s terms of reference to recommend ways to further improve the...



28 Oct 2014

Cultural policy and trade policy are pulling in different directions, and Ten’s Offspring could be one casualty

On 7 August this year 1.3 million people watched what is probably the last episode of the popular Australian series Offspring. Created...



15 Oct 2014

Is Australia enhancing its economic and geo-political interests by negotiating free trade agreements (FTAs) or is it simply mindlessly engaging in world trade policy? While many commentators believe the latter to be true, Australia’s approach is more thoughtful and calculating than it is given credit...


17 Feb 2014

The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement has the potential to negatively impact the health of Australians by raising the cost of medicine and limiting the government's ability to regulate tobacco and alcohol, argues this policy brief based on publicly available and recently leaked negotiating documents....


18 Oct 2012

With global trade negotiations stalled, Australia is attempting to navigate between the competing demands of two giants, writes Jock Given in Inside Story.

IT didn’t look like it at the time, but 1995, the year the World Trade Organization started its work, may have...


29 Feb 2012

This article elaborates upon ideas contributed to a symposium considering the possible shape of an Asia Pacific Community, including future trade arrangements within an Asia Pacific Community.

It suggests some innovations in dispute settlement that could be considered for inclusion in such arrangements....

Working paper

23 Jan 2012

The Peoples Republic of China (PRC) has emerged as a major player in the global economy and considers free trade agreements (FTAs) an important part of its global trading strategy.

The PRCs export industries are embedded in existing regional and global production networks and...


13 Dec 2010

This study is completed. The final research report was released on 13 December 2010.

On 27 November 2009, the Australian Government requested that the Productivity Commission undertake a study into the impact of bilateral and regional trade agreements on trade and investment...


18 Nov 2010

Officials will resume negotiations for a trans-Pacific free trade agreement next month. In Inside Story, Jock Given looks at the potential impact on culture and information industries.

THE FREE TRADE agreement Australia signed in 2004 seemed like the last one that would ever matter...

Discussion paper

10 May 2010

Australia’s Productivity Commission will release a draft review in June 2010 of the impact of bilateral and regional trade agreements. In March, officials from eight Pacific Rim countries met in Melbourne to begin talks on a Trans-Pacific trade agreement. This follows the signing of a...


2 Dec 2008

There has been a significant proliferation of bilateral free trade agreements. This background note examines the impact of the agreements thus far concluded and their trade impact on Australia.There has been a significant proliferation of bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) in recent history, particularly FTAs...


9 Aug 2007

This paper is an attempt to understand the incentives for and progress towards greater economic integration in South Asia. This sub-region comprises seven economies, namely, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, which are members of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation...


4 May 2006

Australia has implemented FTAs with the United States and New Zealand; is currently negotiating an FTA with China; and has recently completed a joint FTA feasibility study with Japan – in other words, with each of its top five export destinations, except South Korea. Jeffrey...


20 Jun 2005

Bryan Mercurio details, evaluates and critically analyses the eight provisions relating to health services and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme in the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement. He argues that while the agreement may result in uncertainty and discontent among some in the Australian academic and health...



1 Jun 2005

A commitment to openness would affirm democratic values and principles, write Rebecca LaForgia and Bryan Mercurio

AUSTRALIA and China began the first round of historic free trade agreement (FTA) talks earlier this week. Trade between the two nations has quadrupled in the past decade...



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