Nov 12, 2008

Fran Reviews APEC

Fran O'Sullivan has a good overview of the challenges facing John Key at this year's APEC meeting in Peru. We agree with Fran's points about the importance of this meeting for Key at this difficult time for the global financial system. The Vancouver Leaders' Meeting played a similarly important role at the start of the Asian financial crisis in 1997. We hope that Key does ensure that Treasury and maybe some business advisers are in Lima to learn as much as possible from counterparts in the US, Canada, Japan, Korea, China etc. Because of the importance of the GATT/WTO to our economic existence (if it wasn't for the WTO's rules we would be a much poorer country) we have a key interest in being at the centre of any process to reform the Bretton Woods system, of which the GATT/WTO is an important pillar. We can not rely on Kevin Rudd or any other Australian to represent our interests on this issue. Peru offers a chance to remind important players of the contribution New Zealand can and should play in this space. John Key and Tim Groser are better placed than most Leaders/Trade Ministers to play a leadership role on this topic given their backgrounds.