Due to increased competition from the Black Sea region, Australian wheat lost some of its market share in Indonesia. Russian export duties and a decline in Ukrainian wheat production could see Australia regain some of that share, at least in the short term.
The US-China Phase One Trade Agreement was under review by the Biden Administration as part of a reappraisal of the broader Sino-US relationship. Public statements from several senior members of the administration, however, indicate that the trade agreement will not be abandoned. It is clear that, unless Beijing’s behaviour changes considerably, the Biden Administration’s approach to trade with China will not be vastly different to that of the Trump Administration.
Myanmar’s precarious food security situation has been thrown into almost as much chaos as the country’s political system.
While African Swine Fever remains contained in China, a resurgence of the disease would delay efforts to rebuild the swine herd after several years of decline, reduce global grain prices and increase the cost of meat.
The events of last year hampered Dhaka’s efforts to reduce poverty and improve food security. They exposed vulnerabilities in the Bangladeshi food system that are likely to present challenges to its long-term food security.
Many Middle Eastern countries were experiencing heightened levels of food insecurity even before the Covid-19 pandemic. Economic shocks related to regional and global lockdown measures, and conflict in some parts of the region have further reduced food security. It is expected that the regional food security situation will remain precarious for the foreseeable future.
China targeted Australian wine as part of an economic coercion programme in 2020. Australian wine imports were also seen as a threat to the Chinese wine industry, which was a domestic driver of the trade barriers that Beijing erected. As those barriers are unlikely to be removed in the near term, the Australian wine industry will need to adapt to them.
Higher Chinese demand for feed grains and the imposition of Russian wheat export duties are pushing global food prices higher. Higher prices will benefit food exporters, including Australia, but will increase living costs for populations in poorer, import-reliant countries.
The latest move indicates growing, if belated, concern around the environmental and economic viability of damming the Mekong River.