Jan 14, 2008

New Zealand Trade Policy: State of Play

There is a good review of the state of play in the WTO and the various FTA negotiations New Zealand is engaged in in today's NZ Herald. The one obvious omission from this review is India, where terms of reference for a study by the two Governments on the impact of an FTA, is on the verge of agreement. It is also possible that New Zealand will have to negotiate something with the Pacific if the EU secures free access to the markets there. This is allowed for in an existing agreement - PACER. We quote from the MFAT website:

It also foreshadows future negotiations on Forum-wide reciprocal free trade (including Australia and New Zealand). For the moment these negotiations are not scheduled until 2011, but they are likely to be brought forward as a consequence of the Pacific Island countries’ negotiation of an Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union.

Forum Trade Ministers agreed in August 2007 that an informal meeting should be held in New Zealand in early 2008 to discuss issues related to the way ahead under PACER. This will provide an opportunity for informal reflection on how the region might move towards an agreement which advances the goal of a single market, while supporting the sustainable development of Forum Island countries and their progressive integration into the world economy. Negotiations under PACER should also give New Zealand a chance to prevent its exporters being placed at a tariff disadvantage vis a vis third countries in Pacific Island markets.

For the record, we are dubious about the $900 million value being put on the Doha Round outcome by Phil Goff. For a start, you can't do the numbers until you don't know the final detail of the deal, and we don't know this (and neither does Goff).