"We should be cautious about celebrating how pro-trade Australia is," warns Gabriele Gratton, a Senior Lecturer in Economics, at the UNSW Business School. "Australia is not innocent when it comes to anti-trade sentiments."

Chinese President Xi Jinping has promised to lower import tariffs on products, including cars, helping soothe investor jitters over an escalating US-China trade row. His speech at the annual Boao Forum has given relief in the world's trade and stock markets, after a month of mounting threats of tariff escalations. Instead, Xi pledged a "new phase of opening up", including cutting tariffs on car imports.

"With such powerful images in mind, we are rightly proud to defend the merits of a well-regulated free-trade world. But perhaps we may be too generous with ourselves," says Dr Gratton.

However, he warns, Australia is about to throw up its own trade barriers. On July 1st, 2018, the Australian government will extend the 10 per cent GST to low value direct imports of physical goods.

He warns that border controls on parcels will remain a heavy burden on the budget. To cover the losses, the government is likely to impose a A$5-to-A$10 per-parcel levy on international retailers, in addition to GST. This would be imposed on everything from CDs to books, and many other items purchased over the internet from overseas by Australian consumers.

"Australia itself is actually putting in a new barrier to trade," he warns.

Read further details of his analysis in https://theconversation.com/the-many-ways-australia-isnt-as-pro-trade-as-we-claim-94653

For further comment contact Dr. Gabriele Gratton on 02 9385 4615

Media contact: Julian Lorkin: 02 9385 9887