Although the governments in Canberra and Wellington declare they are both committed to advancing the Single Economic Market (SEM) agenda, building on the success of the Closer Economic Relations (CER) Trade Agreement, the recent meeting of the respective trade ministers in Auckland didn’t produce much more than an array of platitudes, and certainly left business lobbies on both sides of the Tasman yawning.
NZ lamb export prices have hit their highest level since 1982. That mightn’t be good news if you are contemplating a roast leg of lamb for the barbecue this weekend.
But for NZ meat producers that, and the high prices being earned in markets like Japan for beef, suggest it’ll be a good season for NZ’s meat producers.
This is despite the global uncertainty stemming from trade wars particularly between China and the US, two of NZ’s main markets. The outbreak of swine fever in China is likely to sustain demand for other meat such as beef.
Every so often, an editor desperate for copy runs a feature promoting some Commonwealth-revival initiative. Most of these are bad ideas. But a recent one is worth thinking twice about.
CANZUK is a proposal for arrangements, or even a pact, leading to freedom of movement, free trade and foreign policy coordination between Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom (the “CANZUK” countries). It has its own global think tank and advocacy body (Canzuk International) with a modest profile in the four countries. It got a bit of coverage on Stuff last year. Now its getting more air time in the UK as Boris Johnson’s government seeks to exit the EU by 31 October.
Shanes Jones liberal distributions of public money from the Provincial Growth Fund raise issues far beyond he prudence of government trying to pick winners and the potential for favouring political supporters.
There are trade policy implications, too.
Stuff writer Hamish Rutherford drew attention to this last December, when he examined Jones’ justification for why the Government had decided to lend almost $10 million to debt-laden Westland Milk Products.
Rutherford described the PGF as a $1 billion-a-year pot which NZ First won during coalition negotiations, to fill what he believes is a void. Continue reading “Jones seems unstoppable (until he has emptied the PGF trough) – but what are the trade policy effects?”
He has been virtually incognito since 2017 – but Britain’s chief trade negotiator, Crawford Falconer, has finally surfaced amidst the debris of the Brexit wars in London.
London’s Daily Telegraph quotes him as saying Brexit had actually been good for the UK because it had given it something to say on trade.
Falconer has been working on international trade issues for more than 30 years.
He was the New Zealand Government’s leading trade official and served as Ambassador to the WTO.
He also worked for several years at the OECD and the Institute of Policy Studies. Continue reading “Crawford Falconer breaks his silence to say Brexit has given the UK something to say about trade”
Many New Zealanders may be unaware that China, home to half the world’s pigs, is suffering a catastrophic outbreak of African swine fever. According to one authoritative estimate, the disease may have wiped out one-third of the population of 500m pigs.
The London “Economist” says that for as long as it takes China’s pig industry to recover —which may be years—farmers elsewhere may have cause to celebrate. Yet foreign producers cannot make up the vast amount of production which will be lost —and American pig farmers have tariffs imposed on them as part of the ongoing trade war with China.
So, as Point of Order sees it, a big opportunity is opened for NZ food producers, particularly meat exporters, to be diverting as much of their product as they can to China.
And where’s Foreign Minister Winston Peters or Trade Minister David Parker in promoting meat sales to China? Continue reading “Pig catastrophe in China opens opportunities for NZ meat exporters”
As trade barriers go up between the US and China, the media seems to be both less certain and less critical in its view of President Trump’s policy. Simon Nixon in The Times says that Trump’s brinksmanship is either a masterstroke or a reckless bluff. Respected financial commentator Gillian Tett in the FT senses that executives are coming round to the view that Trump-style roughhousing may be the only way to deal with Chinese trade practices in areas like protection of intellectual property.
Few are willing to cheer on Trump’s strategy. Of course this may be because he doesn’t have one. He has done very well just by calling the flaws in the old policy (you know: no need worry about China’s growing power because they are becoming just like us). Perhaps now he is simply jumping from one tactical expedient to another.
But it may be that he has an idea that US – Chinese strategic rivalry should be a more significant element in international relations. He might envisage something on the lines of the old US – USSR relationship – trade in commodities and basic manufactures while clamping down on co-operation and investment in higher technologies – trying to preserve US predominance in high tech, software, AI, education and research, engineering and intellectual property.