O’Connor’s trade challenges: persuading Biden to join CPTPP will be high on the agenda

Damien O’Connor, the new trade and export growth minister, has a large agenda but officials who know him are pleased at his appointment because he has an easy affability, unlike David Parker who sometimes could be brittle and opinionated.

O’Connor also has a capacity for hard work. Priorities are free trade agreements with Britain and the European Union. 

Probably the biggest challenge will be working with PM Jacinda Ardern to encourage the United States to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP.) The government places this at a higher priority than seeking a free trade agreement with Washington DC. 

They will also try to have the US re-engage with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as soon as possible.  Continue reading “O’Connor’s trade challenges: persuading Biden to join CPTPP will be high on the agenda”

What we call our cheeses is among the several daunting issues facing Trade Minister

At this time of yuletide cheer we might pause and reflect on the gathering issues confronting Trade Minister David Parker.   While New Zealand  has the CPTPP under its belt and showing results, the wider prospects are daunting with serious challenges arising principally from the European Union on top of the erosion of the capabilities of the World Trade Organisation.

For years   while the EU has uttered endless bromides over prospects for a free trade agreement with NZ, the reality is somewhat different.  There have been some steps forward but no breakthrough. Now the going will become harder, especially as the question of how current NZ exports into the EU are divvied up between the Continent and the UK.

Firstly, for the next 12 months (that is, beyond the general election) the EU will be preoccupied with Britain’s exit and fashioning a new trade agreement across the English  Channel. This will take up most of London’s trade negotiating bandwidth as it will prioritise other trade deals in terms of economic significance.

This suggests NZ will fall well behind, lagging after the United States, Australia and Canada.  President Trump has already tempted UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson with the world’s greatest FTA, or words to that effect. Continue reading “What we call our cheeses is among the several daunting issues facing Trade Minister”

Boris’s tough line on trade is NZ’s (and others’) opportunity

British PM Boris Johnson is not one to muck around.  Re-elected last week, he is hustling Parliament back into action to vote on his Brexit legislation before Christmas, to make sure the UK actually leaves the EU on 31 January 2020.

But the new and significant addition to the legislation is a requirement that the proposed transition period cannot be extended beyond 31 December 2020. Continue reading “Boris’s tough line on trade is NZ’s (and others’) opportunity”

EU-Japan trade deal is seen as a counter to Trumpist protectionism

While the trade  wars   triggered   by  Donald  Trump  raise  fears  of  a  rise in global protectionism, Japan  and  the European Union this week signed  a  wide-ranging  free trade deal.  It has  important implications  for   NZ,   which is  also seeking to negotiate  a  free trade  deal  with the EU.

NZ  farm lobbies could be concerned that  their  European  counterparts have  stolen a march in  getting  better access  to  the Japanese market  than they do under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

But tariffs on European farm products, particularly beef and  cheese,  in fact will be  removed  slowly in Japan and will not  reach  zero  for  15  years. Continue reading “EU-Japan trade deal is seen as a counter to Trumpist protectionism”