French President Emmanuel Macron.

A LETTER FROM THE TRADE WARS

There’s an ongoing battle in Europe between competition and free trade supporters, and proponents of “national champions”, like Emmanuel Macron (following in the dirigiste footsteps of predecessors like De Gaulle). Macron lost a major battle against the EU earlier in the year to create a European rail giant, so is now trying to reshape the EU instead.

Meanwhile the EU is reconsidering punishing foreign governments that favour local firms over European firms in procurement projects — which is interesting given Australia, especially at state level, is a major offender when it comes to governments wasting taxpayer money by demanding local content. And ASPI has had a crack at properly estimating the cost of building our new fleet of submarines, up to one-third of which will be wasted by the French building much of them here for South Australian political considerations.