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Unilateral and Regional Trade Policies of the CER Countries This paper reviews the reforms to the trade policies of Australia and New Zealand over the last thirty years including the Closer Economic Relations Agreement between the two countries Since undertaking unilateral reforms of trade policies in the 1980s Australia and New Zealand have a style of trade policy which is quite distinctive Among the common elements are a fast rate of unilateral reductions in barriers to trade with other nations a sharp movement away from reliance on quantitative restrictions and other non-tariff instruments of trade restriction membership in a regional trading arrangement which has achieved virtually complete freedom of bilateral trade and has deepened the integration of the two economies and a strong commitment to multilateralism Nominal and effective rates of assistance are reported for the two countries In the case of Australia these date from 196869 and include series of the variance of the nominal and effective rates in both the manufacturing and agricultural sectors They also include the first estimates for Australia of the Trade Restrictiveness Index The TRI estimates show that the available measures of average nominal assistance have understated the costs of protection in Australia However these costs have now been greatly reduced with the unilateral reforms of tariff and non-tariff barriers in the 1980s and 1990s In the case of New Zealand the reforms have been even more rapid and widespread Since the reforms began in earnest in 1984 New Zealand has eliminated all non-tariff restrictions lowered tariffs drastically and eliminated most subsidies on agricultural as well as non-agricultural commodities It has now one of the least restrictive and most transparent trade regimes in the world CER the Closer Economic Relations agreement between Australia and New Zealand replaces an earlier free-trade agreement It has widened its coverage of commodities and extended the range of instruments which have been liberalised and harmonised to include many non-border policies
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