O’Connor (like the Black Caps) will deserve a victory parade if he can secure a trade deal with the UK that outscores Australia’s

The  government  has  been  beating  the drum on the  prospects  for  a  free  trade  deal with the United Kingdom, which it claims  is part  of the wider work  it is undertaking to support New Zealand’s economic recovery from Covid-19.

Following  Trade Minister Damien O’Connor’s sessions  with UK Trade Secretary Truss in London to push along the bilateral negotiation, officials’ teams will spend the coming weeks finalising FTA details with the aim of reaching agreement in principle in August.

Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta told Parliament NZ  is working to achieve a high quality comprehensive trade deal.

“Our priority is a deal that delivers benefits for all New Zealanders. That includes seeking elimination on all tariffs over commercially meaningful time frames, and that takes account of our ambition across the agricultural sector”. Continue reading “O’Connor (like the Black Caps) will deserve a victory parade if he can secure a trade deal with the UK that outscores Australia’s”

The omens look good for exporters wanting a better deal from FTA with the UK – but not so good for endangered albatross

Trade Minister Damien O’Connor kicked off our day with the cheering news that New Zealand and the UK have committed to accelerating their free trade agreement negotiations with the aim of reaching an agreement in principle this August.

This compensated for the news that the first day’s play on the scheduled first day of the cricket test between the Black Caps and India had been abandoned.

“We’ve held constructive and productive discussions towards the conclusion of a high-quality and comprehensive FTA that will support sustainable and inclusive trade, and help drive New Zealand’s economic recovery from COVID,” Damien O’Connor said.

He will leave the UK on Monday morning for Brussels where he will meet with his trade counterpart to advance NZ’s FTA negotiations with the European Union.

His good news landed in our in tray on World Albatross Day but the news from the Beehive for the endangered Antipodean albatross was ominous. 

Their numbers are declining at an alarming rate.

Albatrosses feed on fish near the surface, making them vulnerable to being caught on fishing lines or in nets.

Acting Conversation Minister Ayesha Verrall said the government has a plan aiming to reduce domestic bycatch to zero and is funding a wider roll-out of cameras on inshore fishing vessels. Continue reading “The omens look good for exporters wanting a better deal from FTA with the UK – but not so good for endangered albatross”

Here’s hoping Damien O’Connor can strike a trade deal with the UK on terms similar to those secured by the Aussies

We have had the chance to scan the new Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade agreement and – if Trade Minister Damien O’Connor can negotiate similar terms for us – the prospects look hearteningly good for NZ.

Beef and sheep meat tariffs on Australian exports to the UK will be eliminated after 10 years. Sugar tariffs will be removed after eight years, and dairy tariffs after five years.

Short and medium grain milled rice will get immediate duty-free access once the FTA is in place.

During the countdown to tariff-free trade, Australian producers will gain incremental access to the British market.  Beef producers gain immediate access to a duty-free quota of 35,000 tonnes (rising to 110,000 tonnes a  year in a decade).  With sugar exports, producers have immediate access to a duty-free quota of 80,000 tonnes, rising by 20,000 tonnes each year.

Dairy farmers will also have access during the transition period to a duty-free quota for cheese of 24,000 tonnes. This will rise to 48,000 tonnes by year five. Continue reading “Here’s hoping Damien O’Connor can strike a trade deal with the UK on terms similar to those secured by the Aussies”

Foreshore legislation (2004) and trade agreement (2005) reverberate in latest Beehive announcements

Events in the early 2000s – the enactment of the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004 and the signing of the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement by Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore in 2005 – have had consequences which are reflected in announcements from the Beehive in the past two days.

Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Andrew Little this morning announced the Crown has recognised 14 customary marine title areas along the East Cape and East Coast in nga rohe moana o nga hapu o Ngati Porou.

And Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O’Connor yesterday welcomed the United Kingdom’s intention to submit a formal request to accede to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

The wording of Little’s statement is curious.

“This recognition reflects the determination of nga hapu o Ngati Porou to safeguard their longstanding customary rights and the continued exercise of mana by nga hapu o Ngati Porou in their rohe moana.”

Does this mean claimants who have yet to secure a similar safeguarding of their customary rights are insufficiently determined?

But let’s backtrack. Continue reading “Foreshore legislation (2004) and trade agreement (2005) reverberate in latest Beehive announcements”

Some Christmas cheer from the Brits – their trade deal with the EU is as good as we could have expected

As readers well know, we at Point of Order never rest. So, we break your post-Christmas reverie to report some very good news for New Zealand from Britain’s exit from the European Union. 

The Christmas Eve deal ensures there will be no tariffs and no quotas on British-EU trade.

Neither side will impose tariffs on goods being traded and a zero quota agreement  means there will be no limits on the quantity of any type of goods that could be traded.  Furthermore, the UK will be able to strike free trade deals with other countries including NZ.

In essence, with both sides agreeing there will be no tariffs and quotas, NZ avoids the worst-possible alternative which would seriously impact NZ exports into the EU and Britain. Exporters trading across the UK and the EU may still face issues.  It’s as good as NZ negotiators hoped for. Continue reading “Some Christmas cheer from the Brits – their trade deal with the EU is as good as we could have expected”

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”

While malcontents assail historical links with Britain, Parker puts NZ on course to shape a trade partnership through an FTA

Latest from the Beehive

The best news from the Beehive since we reported yesterday is that New Zealand and the UK have formally launched free trade negotiations.

At least, it’s the best news from a national perspective.  Farmers in drought areas may well be more heartened by the government’s decision to pump an extra $3 million into the Drought Recovery Advice Fund.  This is designed to help hundreds of farmers and growers recover from drought “and prepare their businesses to better meet future needs”, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor reminded us.

Significant drought has affected many parts of New Zealand and this fund will provide relief across all of the North Island, the Chatham Islands, Christchurch, Marlborough, Nelson, Tasman, Selwyn, Kaikoura, and Waimakariri districts and regions.

But farmers should be just as delighted by Parker’s announcement that New Zealand is among the first countries to negotiate a trade agreement “with one of our oldest friends”. Continue reading “While malcontents assail historical links with Britain, Parker puts NZ on course to shape a trade partnership through an FTA”

Why a birthday bash was called off on Mauritius – and why NZ sat on the fence on Chagos Islands vote

If we heard the BBC correctly this morning, Queen’s Birthday celebrations were cancelled in one of Britain’s diplomatic outposts this year.  The knees-up at the UK embassy in Mauritius was called off because the Ambassador reportedly sensed the celebrations might be inappropriate.

The cancellation might also have been an expression of British miff after the UN overwhelmingly voted (116-6) that Britain should return control of the Chagos Islands to Mauritius.

New Zealand joined France, Germany and 53 other countries in abstaining.

The wellbeing of the Chagos Islanders, we may suppose, is not quite as high in priorities in foreign affairs policy as our relations with countries like Britain, the US and Australia (among the few to vote against the resolution).

Between 1968 and 1973, these islanders were forcibly removed from their homeland to make way for an American military base.

New Zealand’s regard for the International Court of Justice came into considerations during the vote at the UN, too. Continue reading “Why a birthday bash was called off on Mauritius – and why NZ sat on the fence on Chagos Islands vote”

Up periscope – and let’s take a peep at the 2019 global outlook

With the Black Caps in magnificent record-setting form is there any need to worry about 2019?  Well, yes there is and we have harnessed the resources of our world-wide network of correspondents to assess prospects for the next 12 months.

In a  three part  series  Point of Order  pushes   up  its  periscope  to  scan the  horizon.

First, how does it look  internationally?

Global trade, European security, China-US relations all cloud the scene. Continue reading “Up periscope – and let’s take a peep at the 2019 global outlook”

May’s Brexit deal looks likely to fail at the first hurdle in Parliament – but what then?

LONDON CORRESPONDENT:  Britain’s parliament will decide on 11 December whether to approve the deal for leaving the European Union negotiated between the EU leadership and the British government.  Most people in the UK and the parliament – with the exception of hapless Prime Minister Theresa May and her band of loyalists – seem to think it’s a pretty bad deal.

Brexiteers hate it because it’s not actually Brexit – it would tie Britain to the EU in ‘temporary’ arrangements which look remarkably durable and which the EU has little incentive to change (see Charles Moore in the Daily Telegraph for a good explanation of this).

Remainers see not a clever compromise based on their premises, but proof incarnate of the folly of the entire Brexit project.

Paradoxically, this mutual loathing gives the deal a chance of acceptance and even the possibility that it may endure for a lengthy period, while Britain tries to settle the ferocious internal disagreements which led to this pass. Continue reading “May’s Brexit deal looks likely to fail at the first hurdle in Parliament – but what then?”