Jul 31, 2008

Are Bilaterals The Answer??

We are a bit concerned at the emphasis that some commentators are putting on bilateral FTAs now that we a have a further delay in the WTO process. We agree with these commentators to a point, but remind them that for New Zealand agricultural exporters subsidies are still a big problem, and that the only away to reduce these is the multilateral process. We also stress that bilateral and regional deals must be of high quality. We can't afford to have any more "political deals"such as that which was negotiated with Thailand. We understand that Australia is being far from resolute in seeking a high quality outcome in the current joint negotiation with ASEAN. It is essential that New Zealand keeps pressing for a high quality agreement - without exclusions or non-free trade outcomes (5% does not equal free trade).