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
Trade Minister Todd McClay says his visit to Washington for high-level trade talks with the Trump Administration has been a success and that the U.S. has indicated it is open to a free trade agreement (FTA) with New Zealand when the time is right.
Mr McClay met with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, newly appointed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Congressman David Reichert, Special Advisors to the President and members of the US Chamber of Commerce.
Mr McClay says Secretary Ross has indicated that he is open to a trade deal with New Zealand and did not see any major issues, as our relationship was in good shape.
"It's clear the U.S. will take time considering its trade strategy. They're likely to have a considerable workload over next couple of years with NAFTA renegotiations and some big bilateral deals to do. However, I've welcomed their interest in an FTA as a demonstration of the good shape our trading relationship is in," Mr McClay says.
"Trade Agenda 2030 sets an ambitious target of 90 per cent of our goods trade being covered by FTAs by 2030. The U.S. will be an important part of achieving this goal and my discussions this week in Washington are encouraging."
USTR Robert Lighthizer also told Mr McClay he was keen to work with New Zealand on international trade policy issues.
"This was my 3rd meeting with Ambassador Lighthizer since his confirmation just over a month ago. I have a great deal of respect for Robert and believe that New Zealand will be able to work closely with him on trade."
Mr McClay says there is significant interest in New Zealand's approach to trade policy. Congressman Reichert and members of the U.S. business community said they had admiration for how we had opened our markets and made the most of the opportunities in the Asia Pacific region.
"They recognise we are number one in ‘ease of doing business' and were impressed with the strong performance of our economy,” Mr McClay says
Mr McClay says there is considerable scope to grow trade and investment with the U.S.
"Two-way trade with the U.S. reached $16 billion in 2016. This is an incredibly wealthy market with huge opportunity for New Zealand businesses. Trade Agenda 2030 means the Government will increase efforts to help New Zealanders do more in countries like the U.S.," Mr McClay says.
Trade Minister Todd McClay has welcomed the appointment of respected trade policy expert Crawford Falconer as the U.K.'s Chief Trade Advisor.
"I congratulate Crawford and wish him well in his new role," Mr McClay says.
Mr McClay says that Mr Falconer had served in a number of roles including Ambassador to the WTO.
"He has a great deal of trade policy expertise and the world trading system will benefit from his appointment as the UK develops a post Brexit trade strategy," Mr McClay says.
"We have been providing assistance to the U.K. in trade policy training and will continue to offer this support as required. I look forward to working with my ministerial colleagues in the U.K to strengthen our bilateral trade and economic relations."