A Free Trade Deal must include Free Trade

Published: Fri 31 Jul 2015 02:38 PM
31 July 2015
A Free Trade Deal must include Free Trade
Federated Farmers says the Government must hold firm on a deal for agriculture at the Trans Pacific Partnership talks in Hawaii.
Federated Farmers’ Dairy Chair Andrew Hoggard is adamant that the reason for New Zealand being at the 12 nation talks is to establish free trade in the region, and a trade deal that doesn’t include meaningful access for dairy is not a free trade deal.
“Let’s be clear. Dairy is our largest export earner. It would be like the Japanese concluding a deal that didn’t have anything in it for automotive or technology trade.”
“We don’t know what is happening around the table in Maui in these negotiations, and how the dairy side is being played. But we do know some of these key countries have a public position which doesn’t make much sense.”
“In particular the United States. It exports a greater volume of dairy products into TPP countries than we in New Zealand do – half as much again. They stand to gain more from a breakthrough in tariff reductions than we do.”
“We would hope that the Americans will show strong leadership and stand with New Zealand and Australia in looking for a comprehensive deal for dairy. Anything else is just not in their national interest, nor their dairy farmers’ interests,” Andrew Hoggard says.
Federated Farmers’ President William Rolleston cites the public position of Canadian dairy farmers in the media this morning as unacceptable.
“Our experience from freeing up our agricultural economy was that the economic benefit of subsidies, controls and protections were not being captured by farmers but elsewhere in the supply chain. Canadian farmers should take note. New Zealand farmers can now respond to the signals from the market, rather than be at the mercy of political whims. Consumers in New Zealand’s free market have also benefitted with lower prices, more choice and greater innovation. Why would other governments not want this for their citizens?”
“New Zealand was a founding member of these free trade negotiations. If there are countries which are not interested in free trade then they should step back from the table and allow a high quality deal to be concluded by those genuinely interested in free trade.”
“The major growth markets for our exports are in the Asia Pacific region. A TPP deal on tariffs couldn’t be more important for New Zealand.”
“The whole point is to get free trade. It is to have producers of whatever products or services in the region stand on their productive merits. It is to get rid of tariff walls – not protect them.”
“And this applies not just to dairy exports, but our very substantial beef and lamb trade. Our beef and lamb exports to TTP countries are worth more than $2.4 billion a year. Our exporters have to pay $94 million in tariffs on these exports. Australia has a meat tariff agreement with Japan which we don’t enjoy which makes the TPP even more important for us.”
“All countries at the talks know that free trade leads to a safer, more interconnected and more stable world. Free trade in food is fundamental to that outcome.”

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