Whatever trade gains are made in NZ-UK trade talks, we should brace to share them with Australia and the US

Trade Minister David Parker is gung-ho about getting a trade deal with the UK sewn up. He says NZ and the UK have strong trade and economic ties.

“NZ is pleased to be among the first countries to negotiate a trade agreement with one of our oldest friends”.

With a New Zealander, Crawford Falconer, in charge of the UK trade negotiating team, Parker, like the rest of the country, will be hoping for a favourable deal.

But as the UK is getting to grips with what NZ is seeking, it is also locked in negotiations with Australia and – moreover – is looking to seal trade deals with the US and Japan.  In that context, the negotiation with NZ may seem only a footnote.

For NZ, the difficulty may be that if it gets a deal done first with concessions from the UK, particularly on dairy and meat, then the UK may feel obliged to offer the same terms to Australia, and perhaps even the US.

The same day Parker was announcing the trade talks between NZ and the UK are to kick off,  Aussie Trade Minister Simon Birmingham, in Canberra, was telling Australians he was seeking an FTA with the UK and was aiming to “open up new doors for our farmers, businesses and investors”. Continue reading “Whatever trade gains are made in NZ-UK trade talks, we should brace to share them with Australia and the US”

Crawford Falconer breaks his silence to say Brexit has given the UK something to say about trade

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”

UK’s Daily Mail urges Theresa May to listen to Kiwi trade expert

Brits who may be despairing at the lack of progress on Brexit, as Britain’s political class trade blows and the process becomes bogged down in politicking, have been told “there is a small corner of a government department that they can turn to for cheer”.

This is the office of New Zealand’s Crawford Falconer, Chief Trade Negotiation Adviser at the Department of International Trade, described by the Daily Mail as

“… a man of immense experience in such matters. And, in contrast to the doomsayers, his message about Brexit is one of almost unbounded optimism.”

Continue reading “UK’s Daily Mail urges Theresa May to listen to Kiwi trade expert”

Kiwi trade expert plays key role in shaping UK’s post-EU trade policy

As PM Theresa May thrashes her way via narrow House of Commons votes towards Brexit, behind the scenes a former NZ diplomat and academic is shaping the UK’s post-EU trade relationships.  Crawford Falconer  is  chief  adviser  to  the  Secretary of  State  for International  Trade  Liam Fox  in London and   is  playing a  key role  in shaping  Britain’s new  trade policy.

When he  was appointed to the  role last year he was tasked with developing and negotiating free trade agreements and market access deals with non-EU countries and shaping trade deals on specific sectors or products.

Falconer  served in the trade policy engine room of the Ministry of Foreign  Affairs in Wellington  for many of the  25 years he spent in NZ’s public service and colleagues regarded  him as the brains  in the trade area, although he always operated in the lee of Tim Groser whose ebullience overshadowed Falconer’s quiet demeanour. Continue reading “Kiwi trade expert plays key role in shaping UK’s post-EU trade policy”