The Week in Trade: CPTPP, China relations and Import Export Show anticipation

Fri 10 Nov 2023
Posted by: Danielle Keen

As International Trade Week (ITW) comes to a close, we can confirm it’s been a tradier trade week than usual. The Institute of Export and International Trade (IOE&IT) hosted a webinar about the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), with input from DBT. The trade deal featured in the King’s Speech on Tuesday (7 November), as new legislation to rubber-stamp the deal was announced.

The big picture: Not only is wine now flowing between Australia and China, further good will is in strong  supply too this week. The nations are on friendlier terms following Anthony Albanese’s Beijing visit, which has heralded what the Guardian termed “a diplomatic reset”, including multi-entry visas.

Meanwhile, the UK has entered China’s bad books after signing a trade partnership agreement with Taiwan, contravening the ‘one China’ principle. A statement released by China’s embassy in London warned the UK to “stop using trade cooperation as an excuse to engage in official exchanges or enhance substantive relations with Taiwan”, per Reuters.

Good week/bad week: China’s economic forecasts received a welcome boost from the IMF this week amid concerns over its post-pandemic recovery, with growth predictions upped to 5.4%. Will  deflation be overcome by year’s end to realise that figure?

The steel industry did less well, as British Steel confirmed 1,500-2,000 jobs will be cut at its Scunthorpe plant at the start of the week, owing to the installation of electric arc furnaces. It’s also bad news for the industry and potential exports, as arc furnaces produce a cruder product with fewer applications in automotive and defence manufacturing. 

How’s stat? Amid the post-pandemic vogue for friend-shoring, a European Central Bank survey has found that 60% of companies believe shifting supply chains and production pushed prices up. The FT highlighted a recent IMF warning, suggesting the trend could knock as much as 2% off global economic output in the long-term.

The week in customs: HMRC will come calling to exporters not yet subscribed to the Customs Declarations Service. The last day the current system, the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF), will be operational is 30 March 2024. In the meantime there are lots of fun tasks to do, like double-checking your software is compatible with the system and signing up for an Economic Operator Registration and Identification number, so we suggest you begin by subscribing here.

Elsewhere in customs, the European Commission has published an update to the Combined Nomenclature, which determines the rate of customs duty applied to goods. Take a peek to find out if you’ll be paying more when the changes take effect in the new year.

Quote of the week: “The Government’s ambition is to have the world’s most effective border that makes use of technological advances and enhances the UK’s security. The Import Export Show is an important opportunity to explain to our vital trading community how we are bringing this ambition to life."

As we count down to IOE&IT’s first Import Export Show on Wednesday (15 November), Baroness Neville-Rolfe, Minister of State at the Cabinet Office outlines its significance.

What else we covered this week: There’s been Import Export Show excitement a-plenty ahead of our first show next week; Richard Cree brought you the official speakers list.

Phil Adnett updated you on new sanctions against companies working in Russia’s oil and gold industries.

Benjamin Roche reported the ambitious new export targets for the decade put forward by export minister Lord Offord of Garvel, because £1trn isn’t enough.

William Barns-Graham attended the UK India Business Council (UKIBC) and DBT webinar, explaining why India is the up-and-coming export market.

True facts: Tomorrow (11 November) is ‘Singles Day’, an annual event in which the unattached challenge the idea of romantic relationships by spending record-breaking sums online. Last year, an estimated £128bn was spent in a single day, making it the world’s ‘single’ most lucrative day for e-commerce globally.