Global trade, terrorism and bird flu. The sherpas at the APEC meeting have got the list of major issues about right. On trade, the Europeans are the biggest problem with their fundamental commitment to agricultural protection. The size of the Chinese trade surplus and the size of the US trade deficit is also becoming a major risk factor for global prosperity, and simply revaluing the Chinese currency is no panacea.
Let’s hope there is some real progress on the trade issues when the movers and shakers arrive this week. Bird flu and terrorism seem relatively easy to deal with, although each has immense potential to cause chaos.
Michelle Grattan reports: “After an intense few weeks of domestic policy debate, John Howard is off on Wednesday for an international marathon. He starts with the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum in South Korea, then visits Pakistan. It would only be a short side journey if he wished to drop in on the Australian troops in Afghanistan. The last leg is the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Malta.”
Most of Grattan’s article is about the will he or won’t he issue of The Succession. A reliable source recently told Henry that the Treasurer had been told by party heavyweights “get on with it, Mate, or piss off.” I guess we’ll all be older and maybe wiser sometime in the new year.
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