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New Research May Help NZ Exports

Researchers in Wellington are looking at our trading patterns to give all New Zealanders a better understanding of how our trading environment works.

"New Zealand's economy depends on international trade. Unless New Zealanders are prepared to accept a vastly lower standard of living, then trade is a given," said Chris Nixon of the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research.

"In the past, understanding the markets we traded in was relatively easy, we needed only to understand the workings of the relatively narrow set of markets and the rest of the world was a mystery.

"Today, the game has changed dramatically, the spread of markets has expanded along with the range of products produced. Knowledge of different markets and the rules of the trade game have become extremely important to understanding the dynamics of trade."

The research, an investment of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology will ensure we have a better understanding of New Zealand's trade and trade policy situation and exploring ways of making it more efficient.

The team will also look at understanding international rules and regulations that govern that trade and how they are likely to change, and the types of strategies and tactics New Zealand should adopt to further our trading goals.

"We are also looking to explain how changes in the international trading environment impact on New Zealand and to examine how or if New Zealand can influence these changes," said Mr Nixon.

"Currently we are analysing three separate areas of trade and trade policy issues. These are the areas of trade that we cannot control; those trade areas that we have some control over, and the trade areas that fall in between.

"Included in things we can not control is the structure of international agreements that impact on world trade.For example, we are investigating whether or not the new disputes settlement process in the World Trade Organisation has changed the attitudes of the major trading powers.

"Important questions include: will this improve the international disputes settlement procedures or will trade degenerate into the trade wars of the 1980s? What are the implications for the construction of international trade rules? What are the implications for small countries such as New Zealand?"

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