May 29, 2008
Hong Kong Next Cab Off FTA Rank
Having been lobbied intensively in recent days in both Auckland and Wellington on the subject Phil Goff is under no illusions as to the strength of business expectation on the importance of reviving the stalled FTA with Hong Kong. The Government wimped out on the deal in the days before the FTA with China was considered a possibility because of concerns that Chinese goods would sneak into New Zealand through Hong Kong. Now that we have an FTA with China, these concerns are no longer valid. Goff is meeting his Hong Kong counterpart at the APEC Trade Ministers' meeting in Peru in the next day or so and the expectation is that the issue of reviving this negotiation will be the top of the agenda. Observers have noted that MFAT may not have been as enthusiastic about reviving these talks as the private sector.