find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Perth losing out in trade wars

Perth losing out in trade wars

Perth is at the centre of an international trade dilemma which is costing the world economy trillions of dollars, according to a US-based partner of a global law firm.Speaking to Lawyers Weekly…

Perth is at the centre of an international trade dilemma which is costing the world economy trillions of dollars, according to a US-based partner of a global law firm.

Speaking to Lawyers Weekly during a visit to Australia last week, Shanker Singham, the head of Squire Sanders' international trade team, said trade barriers are adversely affecting the world economy and Australia is particularly susceptible.

Known as anti-competitive market distortions, Singham said such barriers can include laws and government regulations that affect entry to or exit from a particular market, or other regulations - such as those related to safety and environment - which can result in an artificial distortion of costs.

"For example, many countries have laws that provide that if you terminate your local distributor, you have to pay very high levels of termination indemnity," he explained. "That decreases competition at the distribution level, which increases the profit margin of the local distributers. They then pass that on to consumers, and it means consumers are paying high prices."

According to Singham, Australia's economic structure means it is particularly vulnerable to the negative effects of market distortions - especially when taking into account its key trading partners.

"Australia has a unique make-up, economically. The big exports out of Australia are obviously things like agriculture and mining products," he said. "To the extent that those products face anti-competitive distortions around the world - particularly in the key markets which are China, Japan, Korea and South-East Asia - if that is happening, then it is severely damaging the Australian economy and severely damaging Australian companies."

Singham recently spent several weeks in talks with governments in China, Korea and Australia in an attempt to find solutions to the problem which he said is on an "enormous scale".

While Washington-based Singham advises on these issues in state capitals across the world, he said Australia's uniqueness means Perth - and not necessarily Canberra - is the ideal location in which to develop an international trade practice.

"I don't think you need to be in Canberra to do this type of practice in the way that you might need to be in Washington for this practice in the US," he said. "What you need more than that is to be close to the people who are most adversely affected by the barriers ... The advantage of Perth for us - and we have looked at Australia for a while - is that you do have here a lot of those mining and energy companies, and big agricultural players, that are directly affected. So you want to be close to them."

Singham also said Australia has a key role to play in solving many of these issues.

"There is a general recognition of the problem and the scale of the problem. What we are working on now is the policy proposals and policy proscriptions that you can use," he said.

"One of the things we discussed in Canberra was that the countries that are big stakeholders in solving this problem are all to be stepping up to the plate in terms of finding ... a multi-lateral solution to the problem, as opposed to individual countries taking unilateral actions."

According to Singham, who is also a leading trade advisor to the US Government, the issue of anti-competitive market distortions is likely to be a significant issue in the 2012 presidential election.

"I think this is going to be a big issue in the 2012 US election campaign. It's already been floated by Governor Romney in his campaign, and I think you are going to see it as a major issue in the actual election," he said.

"Trade is rarely an issue on which elections are won or lost, but I think, broadly, the role of government in the economy is going to be a threshold issue in this election."

Claire Chaffey

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Perth losing out in trade wars
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
microphone
Oct 20 2017
Podcast: One of law’s most infamous alumni – in conversation with Julian Morrow
In this episode of The Lawyers Weekly Show, Melissa Coade is joined by The Chaser’s Julian Morrow....
protest
Oct 20 2017
High Court overturns ‘excessive’ anti-protest legislation
Bob Brown’s recent victory in the High Court over the Tasmanian government was a win for fundament...
Blocked
Oct 20 2017
Changes to Australian citizenship laws blocked
Attempts to beef up the requirements to obtain Australian citizenship were thwarted this week, after...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...