Navigating the convoluted trade architectures: ‘Preference ordering’ for Australia and post-Brexit UK

Presented by ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences

The proliferation of overlapping mega-regional trade agreements has transformed the global trade landscape from one characterised by a clear‑cut choice between regionalism and multilateralism, to one that is defined by the complex interplay among multiple trade regimes, with outcomes shaping and reshuffling government’s trade policy preferences.

Australia’s participation in the Trans‑Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), together with the US withdrawal from the TPP raise a number of important economic questions for Australian policy-makers. Is the Australian formula of ‘TPP 12 minus 1’ worth pursuing? Should Australia abandon the TPP by pivoting to RCEP, or aim to take advantage of both agreements? What does ‘open regionalism’ mean for Australia? What is the best scenario for Australia economically? ‘Preference ordering’ for Australia will be established by state-of-the-art computable general equilibrium modelling.

The same approach will be employed to speculate about the future relationship between post-Brexit Britain and the European Union. The economic consequences of various post-Brexit models and options – ‘hard Brexit’, unilateral liberalisation, bilateral deal, and assimilating Britain into existing trade pacts – will be quantified. The results allow us to get a taste of what ‘the best possible deal for Britain’ may look like, but all point to a likely acrimonious divorce process as economically beneficial arrangements could prove politically tricky.

Mr Jason Ji Xianbai is a PhD Candidate at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, on the Nanyang President’s Graduate Scholarship (NPGS). His dissertation examines the rise (and fall) and interconnectedness of mega-regional trade agreements, including the TPP, RCEP and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Mr Ji is a Europa Visiting Fellow at the ANU Centre for European Studies, and held a Visiting Fellowship at the EU Centre in Singapore in 2016. He is also an Associate Fellow at the EU Centre in Singapore where he coordinates the Centre’s research on challenges to multilateralism.

An audio recording of the event will be available on ANU Soundcloud after the lecture.

The ANUCES is an initiative involving six ANU Colleges (Arts and Social Sciences; Law; Business and Economics; Asia and the Pacific; Medicine, Biology & Environment, and Engineering & Computer Science) co-funded by the ANU and the European Union.