Trade Minister Todd McClay says he is deeply disappointed Queensland is pushing ahead with discriminatory government procurement rules which will unfairly disadvantage and potentially harm New Zealand companies.
Mr McClay has today initiated formal consultations with the Australian Federal Government to fight for the fair and balanced trade access that New Zealand companies have a right to expect across the Tasman.
“Initiating consultations sends a strong message that the Bill English-led Government will not stand by whilst an Australian state government undermines our mutually beneficial relationship,” Mr McClay says.
“The NZ Consulate-General has been engaging with Queensland over the last 2 weeks, however this has not led to a satisfactory outcome. Queensland has confirmed that New Zealand companies will be impacted by its policy from tomorrow.”
“The Queensland Government's policy means everyone comes second. Queensland companies have been welcome to bid for government contracts in New Zealand and under Closer Economic Relations we expect New Zealand companies to be treated exactly the same in Queensland.”
The initiation of CER consultations follows an urgent visit to Canberra by Mr McClay to register his grave concerns with ministerial counterpart Steve Ciobo.
"I am grateful to Minister Ciobo and the Federal Government for taking this issue seriously. We have agreed to a constructive process that protects our important trading relationship."
“Queensland companies continue to provide millions of dollars worth of goods and services to our Government. New Zealand businesses must be shown the same courtesy in Australia,” Mr McClay says.
“Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges has raised his concerns with the Queensland Government under the Australia-New Zealand Government Procurement Agreement.”
National has announced its plan to expand New Zealand’s international trade access, unlocking new markets and opportunities for our exporters.
“National’s policy is to deliver New Zealand’s boldest-ever trade push,” Trade spokesperson Todd McClay says.
“We will work to unlock markets with 2.5 billion new consumers for the benefit of large and small exporters and their workers in every region of New Zealand.
“This new trade access will create shiploads of jobs for Kiwis and be worth billions of dollars to our economy and businesses across the country.
“We have a once in a generation chance to tear down trade barriers and only National is willing to take this opportunity.
“The plan includes pushing strongly to complete TPP 11. We are prepared to move now to improve access for our food producers in key markets like Japan,” Mr McClay says.
“Our opponents want to stop and re-negotiate the whole package. That would set the cause of New Zealand trade access back many years.”
Mr McClay says a re-elected National Government will seek to launch high-quality and comprehensive free trade agreement negotiations with:
- the European Union
- the United Kingdom (following Brexit)
- Sri Lanka
- Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay & Uruguay (MERCOSUR)
It will also seek to complete negotiations with:
- The Trans Pacific Partnership 11
- Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Peru (The Pacific Alliance)
- Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) countries
And finally it will upgrade existing free trade agreements with:
- The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
National will also push for greater access for Kiwi businesses to India, Russia and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries of the Middle East.
“Collectively, the new trade deals will advance New Zealand’s free trade goods exports coverage from 53 per cent to 78 per cent,” Mr McClay says
“Trade is worth more than $70 billion to our economy and more than 620,000 jobs are dependent on it.
“Improving trade access is a crucial part of National’s strong economic plan which is delivering returns for all New Zealanders.
“If we are going to continue to grow our economy, and create more jobs, we have to fight for better access to overseas markets.
“National is the only party for voters serious about trade.”
Trade Minister Todd McClay has launched a new online portal and non-tariff barrier (NTB) clearing house to improve Kiwi access to international markets.
“The National-led Government is committed to removing barriers to trade so our exporters can compete internationally,” Mr McClay says.
“NTBs can be difficult and expensive for exporters to overcome and they are a significant issue.
“Around 70 per cent of New Zealand’s exports are sent to the Asia-Pacific region where it’s estimated NTBs impose costs of US$5.9 billion alone.
“It’s vital our companies know where to turn when they encounter such barriers so we are today launching a new all of government online portal and clearing house.
The new portal is tradebarriers.govt.nz.
“All enquiries to the portal will now get a response from the Government within 48 hours,” Mr McClay says.
“Officials from a range of government agencies will then work alongside the company to plan out next steps within six weeks.
“The NTB clearing house was announced as part of the National-led Government’s ambitious new trade strategy – Trade Agenda 2030 in March. We made a promise and we’ve delivered on it.
“It is backed up by an NTB flying squad and $27 million of extra funding for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to improve access to international markets.”
The Government has approved a negotiating mandate for Trans-Pacific Partnership 11 (TPP11), which will ensure New Zealand businesses remain competitive in overseas markets.
Trade Minister Todd McClay says New Zealand will be pushing for the minimal number of changes possible to the original TPP agreement, something that the remaining TPP11 countries have agreed on.
“TPP11 ministers have committed to moving forward with the agreement as quickly as possible,” Mr McClay says.
“During a Ministerial meeting co-chaired by New Zealand in May, all countries agreed to present a proposal to TPP leaders by November this year, when they meet in Vietnam as part of the APEC leaders week.”
Mr McClay says that trade officials from the 11 countries met in Japan last month and made good progress, with Australia confirming that they will host the next officials meeting in September. New Zealand has also been asked to again co-chair a TPP11 Ministerial meeting in Vietnam in November.
“It is imperative to the competitiveness of our businesses in these important markets that New Zealand continues to show leadership along with Japan and Australia on TPP11,” Mr McClay says.
“Japan has just concluded a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the European Union which gives better access to European exporters than we currently have. Japan has also just announced it will apply a 50 per cent tariff on all frozen beef imports from countries it doesn’t have an FTA with.”
“This is exactly why the National-led Government is committed to TPP11. It will mean tariffs on New Zealand beef exports to Japan will reduce from 50 per cent to 9 per cent. TPP11 also removes all tariffs on wood products and means we can compete fairly in other goods and services exports.”
“Independent economic modelling shows TPP11 could add $2.5 billion annually to our economy and eliminate costly tariffs - saving New Zealand companies $222 million each year. This is something that we cannot afford to turn our backs on.”
“The National-led Government remains ambitious for New Zealanders and will continue to level the export playing field through agreements like TPP11.”
TPP11 will be our first FTA with four new countries, including Japan – the world’s third largest consumer market. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade will continue public and industry engagement on TPP11.
Trade Minister Todd McClay will meet with his Australian counterpart Steven Ciobo tomorrow in Canberra to register New Zealand’s concerns about a state procurement proposal which favours local Queensland tenders over all others.
Mr McClay says that the ‘Queensland First’ policy proposed by the State Premier goes against the spirit of the Australia New Zealand Government Procurement Agreement which was signed 20 years ago this month.
“There are a number of New Zealand businesses in Queensland and Queensland business in New Zealand doing good work for our respective governments. We expect kiwi businesses to be treated the same in Australia as Australian businesses are here – which is fairly,” Mr McClay says.
“I will be registering our disappointment and saying that we expect businesses on both sides of the Tasman to be able to operate on a level playing field.”
“We have a very special trading relationship under CER. It is our longest running trade agreement. It works well for both countries, and is responsible for creating thousands of jobs in Australia and New Zealand. It’s important that both governments and the states remain committed to the principles of CER and open trade.”
“New Zealand and Australian companies need certainty in each country. The Australia New Zealand Government Procurement Agreement provides this.”
Trade Minister Todd McClay says Thailand and New Zealand have agreed to market access improvements for our exporters and announced a new agricultural cooperation programme.
“In Bangkok today we signed an agreement increasing the volume of New Zealand dairy products that can enter Thailand under a preferential tariff rate. For some products this will mean a preference increase of between 10 and 20 per cent,” Mr McClay says.
“We also agreed to launch a new programme that will help Thailand to improve its domestic dairy production and processing.”
“This is a positive step forward for our bilateral trade relationship.”
“Thailand is now our eighth largest market. Total goods exports between our countries have increased almost 150 per cent since the Thailand New Zealand Closer Economic Partnership was signed.”
Mr McClay met with the Thai Airways President who also confirmed that Thai Airways will be launching daily flights between Bangkok and Auckland later this year.
“This new service will be a welcome addition for travellers, international students and business people. More than 100,000 Kiwis travelled to Thailand last year and tens of thousands of Thai tourists visited New Zealand,” Mr McClay says.
Trade Minister Todd McClay will make the first official visit to Thailand by a New Zealand Minister since 2013 to engage with key ministers and business leaders on trade.
“Thailand is now our eighth largest trading partner. Since the Thailand New Zealand Closer Economic Partnership came into force, total goods trade has increased almost 150 per cent to more than $3 billion in 2016,” Mr McClay says.
“Many New Zealand companies have benefited from better access, but there is opportunity to further increase goods and services exports.”
During the two day visit, Mr McClay will sign an agreement increasing the volume of New Zealand dairy products that can enter Thailand under a preferential tariff rate.
Mr McClay will also sign the official book of condolence on behalf of the Government and people of New Zealand, for the late King, His Majesty Bhumibol Adulyadej.
“New Zealand has a 60 year diplomatic relationship with Thailand, but our economic relationship has been growing rapidly. We look forward to deepening our economic relationship with this important member of the ASEAN region,” Mr McClay says.
Trade Minister Todd McClay has announced the launch of free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations with Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Peru and says better market access and lower tariffs will be of real value to New Zealand exporters.
“This is a big win in the fight for better access for New Zealanders to important overseas markets. We've worked hard for trade talks with the Pacific Alliance over the last two years and today’s announcement will be welcome news for our exporters,” Mr McClay says.
“A high-quality FTA will open the door for New Zealand companies to do more business with the Pacific Alliance countries and increase the $1.1 billion of two-way trade we currently have with them.”
Mr McClay made the announcement from the Pacific Alliance Summit in Colombia following a meeting with the Presidents of Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Peru.
“The Pacific Alliance is a grouping of fast-growing, like-minded economies committed to the liberalisation of trade. Between them they have more than 221 million consumers and a combined GDP of US$3.85 trillion, which is equivalent to the world’s sixth largest economy,” Mr McClay says.
“Negotiating a high-quality FTA with the Pacific Alliance will also help the Government reach its ambitious Trade Agenda 2030 target of covering 90 per cent of our goods trade under FTAs by 2030.”
Trade Minister Todd McClay says he believes the time is right to launch trade talks with Mexico, Chile, Peru and Colombia as part of the Government’s push for better access in Latin America.
Mr McClay leaves tomorrow to attend the Pacific Alliance Leaders Summit where a trade deal will be top of his agenda.
“We’ve been talking to the four Pacific Alliance countries about better access for Kiwi exporters for the last two years. With direct flights to South America there is increasing opportunity for New Zealanders to do more in these growing markets,” Mr McClay says.
“New Zealand currently has more than $1.1 billion dollars of two-way trade with the countries of the Alliance. But our exporters face high tariffs rates on many products, including dairy, which is currently our largest export.”
“A high-quality free trade agreement with Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Peru as part of the Pacific Alliance trading bloc presents a huge opportunity for New Zealand companies exporting to this fast-growing region because there is so much room for growth.”
Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Peru are home to 221 million consumers and have a huge combined GDP of US$3.85 trillion. The Pacific Alliance is a regional integration and trading bloc.
“Under Trade Agenda 2030, the Government’s new trade strategy, we have set the ambitious target of covering 90 per cent of our goods trade under FTAs and the Pacific Alliance is an important part of reaching that goal,” Mr McClay says.
Trade Minister Todd McClay tabled the PACER Plus trade and development agreement in Parliament today and has released the National Interest Analysis (NIA), which sets out the benefits of this landmark agreement.
Mr McClay says that PACER Plus is a high quality trade and development agreement which will help drive sustainability and economic certainty for our Pacific Island neighbours.
“The NIA gives comprehensive detail on PACER Plus. It explains how this unique trade and development agreement benefits our close friends in the Pacific and guarantees competitive access for the New Zealand businesses who trade with them,” Mr McClay says.
“As part of Trade Agenda 2030 we’ve committed to engaging New Zealanders more on trade issues. The tabling of the agreement and NIA signals the start of the treaty examination process and will be enhanced by a programme of public meetings to provide more information on PACER Plus.
PACER Plus was signed by Mr McClay in Tonga last week after 8 years of negotiations.
"PACER Plus strikes a fair balance between lowering tariffs and offering greater certainty for New Zealand businesses and investors, while ensuring Pacific Island countries benefit from trade. Those benefits include increased capacity and the modernisation of their economies at a sustainable and realistic pace," Mr McClay says.
"The agreement ensures New Zealand will be treated fairly in any future trade and investment deals that might be done with other trading partners."
The National Interest Analysis, along with a range of factsheets, can be found on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s website.
Note to editors:
More information about PACER Plus: www.mfat.govt.nz/pacer
Public engagement opportunities: www.mfat.govt.nz/tradeengagement