The EU Centre for Global Affairs at ICAS9 – A Wrap-up

What an exciting week at ICAS 9 with the EU Centre for Global Affairs delivering a series of Trade and Investment Updates focusing on recent developments in trade policy and the economic relationships throughout Australasia and with the EU. Details on many of the speakers can be found here.

The week started with the China Trade & Investment panel, with speakers including Mr Francis Wong, Professor Patrick Messerlin, Professor Shandre Thangavelu and Professor Henry Gao. This panel provided key insights and development of China and its impact on trade, investment and political relationship with EU, ASEAN and Australia.

The session was Chaired by Alfred Huang, the former Lord Mayor of Adelaide, President of the China Business Network of South Australia and Business and Cultural Advisor on China for the South Australian Government.

Professor Patrick Messerlin provided important insights and discussions on the development of free trade agreements with ASEAN and China and Australia highlighting the increasing role of China in the region and the interest of EU to formalise closer economic relations with ASEAN to take advantage of and achieve deeper integration into global value chains. Professor Patrick Messerlin also spoke about in particular the China-EU FTA, commenting that the FTA negotiations should be based on small steps, as the Chinese economy is evolving so quickly that a concept of a “living agreement” makes sense.

Professor Henry Gao gave an excellent presentation on the role of China at the WTO including its role in dispute settlements, highlighting that China is moving from being a “follower” to being a “maker” in WTO policy making.

Professor Shandre Thangavelu highlighted the importance of the China-Australia FTA on Regional Cooperative Economic Partnership (RCEP) that consists of ASEAN plus 6 countries including China and Australia. The importance of services liberalization in RCEP as influenced by ChAFTA was highlighted as well as the importance of ChAFTA in re-balancing the China and Australian economies.

Mr Francis Wong highlighted the importance of South Australia and business to the development of regional integration, discussing the key integration agenda of South Australian government in promoting investment and trade in the region.

On Day 2 was the South Asia Panel with speakers Associate Professor Mandar Oak, Ms Lakmini Mendis and Mr Des Pearson. This panel reinforced the complementarity between the developed economies of Australia and the EU in trade with South Asia: for example, the need for South Asia to grow and develop its trade frontier in manufactured goods, while EU and Australia seek to invest further in trade in services across the sub-continent.

On Day 3, there were two panels focusing on ASEAN, the first on the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) and the second on navigating through the ASEAN plus agreements, as well the bilateral agreement Australia has with ASEAN member states. Panelists included Dr Uwe Kauffman, Gracia Girsang, Dr Sothea Oum, Dr Chamnan Ngammaneeudom and Nitipong Srisoontaraporn.

The Wine Panel launched the final day at ICAS, with speakers Professor Kym Anderson AC, Mark Rowley, Brian Croser, Steve Guy and Steve Strachan discussing future challenges and opportunities in wine from the perspectives of regulators, economists, market analysts and winemakers. Highlighted was the cooperation between the EU and Australia in tackling challenges and barriers to market entry in Asia, and particularly in China.

The Film Panel included South Australian film producer Helen Leake, as well as academic experts Dr Jimmyn Parc and Professor Xialon Zhou, and there was robust discussion about the impact of film policy on the future of film making in Australia, Korea, China and Europe, with panel Chair Professor Patrick Messerlin adding the French perspective. All presentations highlighted the impact of market forces on success or failure, and the ineffectiveness of government support not focused upon these forces.

The Roundtable wrapped up the EU Centre’s Trade and Investment updates with key note panelist Ibu Mari Pangestu, the former Indonesian Minister for Trade. Ibu Mari was joined by panelists Professor Patrick Messerlin and Ben Slatter from the EU.

Ibu Mari talked about the importance of comprehensive free trade agreements, and used the example of the EU/Korea Bilateral agreement which not only covers goods, services and investment, but also competition policy, government procurement, environment, labour, and cultural exchange. She spoke about how many of the agreements within Asia are more the incremental building blocks of liberalisation of trade in goods, services and investment, and usually not going beyond investment.

Ibu Mari also noted that the agreements that Australia and New Zealand have with ASEAN countries are more comprehensive than the bilateral agreements that Indonesia has with China, Korea, Japan and India.

Professor Messerlin reviewed the objectives of EU trade policy, noting in particular the relevance of also the challenges of the treatment of services and also highlighting the range of new issues being considered in trade agreements.

Ben Slatter contributed a comprehensive presentation on EU trade policy. Particularly telling, and highlighted by Ben, was the fact that 10% or more of jobs in Germany and other strong EU economies are related to foreign trade, while that number for Greece is less than 4%.

The week wrapped up with dinner in the Mortlock Chamber of the State Library, which was attended by the event panelists, state and federal government officials, ICAS officials, the former Trade Minister of Indonesia and officials and staff from the Hawke EU Centre at the University of South Australia. The keynote speaker was Dr. Jimmyn Parc, Research Associate at the EU Centre at Seoul National University and Visiting Lecturer at Sciences Po in Paris.

View photos from the seminars and dinner here.

Day 1 Presentations:

Professor Henry Gao – China’s Ascent in Global Trade Governance: From Rule Taker to Rule Maker
Professor Shandre Mugan Thangavelu – Rebalancing of Australia and China: Potential Impact of China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA)
Professor Patrick A. Messerlin – China, Australia and the EU

Day 2 Presentations:

Jim Redden – South Asia Trade and Investment Update
Des Pearson – Trade and Investment Opportunities into India: A South Australian Perspective
Francis Wong OAM – Challenges and Opportunities for Business in South Australia in China

Day 3 Presentations:

For copies of Day 3 presentations, please contact Lin Siah on

Important Links:

ASEAN SME Service Center
South Australia An open door to South East Asia

Day 4 Presentations:

Brian Croser – Australian exports to Hong Kong and China
Mark Rowley – China’s Wine Market
Steve Guy – Technical Barriers to Wine Trade
Jimmyn Parc – The effects of protection in cultural industries: The case of the Korean film policies
Xiaolan Zhou – The Government’s Subsidy Policies and the Film Industry in China: A Historical Perspective
Ben Slatter – Mega-regional trade agreements in the Asia- Pacific: why the EU should be interested
The EU and ASEAN – a partnership with a strategic purpose

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