Understanding the implications of bilateral trade wars on Australian agriculture


The proposed report will assess the impacts on Australian exports of the trade war being waged between the US and China. The degree of uncertainty is high. This is principally a function of the clash of strategies and attitudes between Presidents Trump and Xi. The strategy of President Trump to date is deliberate disruption. President Xi has elected to defer engagement to settle disagreement until there is confidence that there is a Trump interest in a mutually satisfactory outcome. While the trade dispute is dramatic and the impact is harmful in some specific areas of agricultural trade in both China and the USA, the broader economic impact to date is assessed by analysts as low to moderate. Such assessments do not rest on complex economic modelling, but rather political assessment of the directions of change and the impact on Australian agricultural exports. Australia has major agricultural export interest in both markets beef, for example. Measures in bilateral FTAs with both the US and China provide for increased access in both markets. Careful analysis of the political factors in the US and China, and responses by key trading partners (e.g. Japan and Korea) will enable rigorous assessment of the impacts on Australian agricultural trade, as well as definition of policy recommendations to optimize Australian agricultural trade interests. The agricultural trade war will create casualties. It may require adjustment of Australian policy to maximize economic benefits. Ongoing assessment of trade policy strikes and retaliations will be required.


National Rural Issues

Research Organisation

Oxley International Pty Ltd

Objective Summary

In response to the current environment of trade uncertainty, AgriFutures has released a Request for Quotation (RfQ) for a project titled "Understanding the implications of bilateral trade wars on Australian agriculture." This project seeks to help Australian agricultural stakeholders understand how the aggressive trade policy actions taken by the Trump administration – along with retaliatory measures implemented by key trading partners – impact Australian agriculture. Mapping and assessing these forces will better equip Australian industry and government to manage and mitigate these impacts, and take advantage of emerging opportunities. ITS Global proposes a report that will: present current and recent trade flows in Australia's priority agricultural export commodities; assess the ongoing impact of trade policy actions taken by the US and other major trading partners; consider potential additional policy actions that could be taken in the near future; present three scenarios quantifying the potential impact of these actions of Australia’s agricultural exports; and conclude with a set of recommendations for Australian agricultural stakeholders.

Project Code


Project Stage


Project Start Date

Monday, December 17, 2018

Project Completion Date

Friday, April 12, 2019

Journal Articles From Project

Not Available

National Priority

An environmentally sustainable Australia

National Priority

Advanced Technology

National Priority

NRI-National Rural Issues


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