Dec 17, 2007

Update From Fran O'Sullivan On Goff Comments On China and US FTAs

Following our respective posts and articles over the weekend and today we decided to talk direct to Fran O'Sullivan. Fran reports that Trade Minister Phil Goff is confident New Zealand will sign a free trade deal with China before the end of next April. Goff will today report to Cabinet that "very positive progress was made in the last negotiating round which concluded in Beijing last week.

‘There’s still work to be done but we I believe we will reach a high-quality agreement."
The trade minister said while the deal would "by and large" be comprehensive ", New Zealand would not get everything it asked for.

O'Sullivan understands that among the sticking points has been the extent to which China will open its services market. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade expects NZ exports to China will increase by between $260 million and $400 million a year following a deal.
The Government is also preparing to take part in trade talks if the United States opts to join the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership (known as "P4") New Zealand was one of
the founding members of this group which also includes Chile, Singapore and Brunei. Mr Goff acknowledged he had discussed the issue with his US counterpart Trade Representative Susan Schwab. O'Sullivan understands that there will be an announcement in the New Year. While Goff is not prepared to state specifically that negotiations would be announced in the New Year – he acknowledged that "P4" – which has always been open to new members could one day form the nucleus for a free trade area of the Asia Pacific. Other nations which have expressed interest include: Canada, Peru, and potentially Venezuela and Columbia.

The above is very significant.