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Up-Front Anzus Free-Trade Deal – “Common Sense”

Up-Front Anzus Free-Trade Deal – “Common Sense”

Including New Zealand in the Australia-United States free trade agreement negotiation from Day One is a pragamatic decision that will be of huge practical advantage to Australia.

Michael Barnett, Chief Executive of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, was responding to latest developments following yesterday’s announcement by the United States agreeing to put a free trade negotiation with Australia at the top of the list.

“Australia already has a free-trade arrangement with New Zealand, and there is common sense in bringing New Zealand to the table to negotiate jointly with the US, even if it means NZ being the junior partner in the negotiation,” said Mr Barnett.

Reasons why Australia might consider the advantages of such a strategy are not hard to fathom. “Because Australia already has a level playing field with New Zealand, in order to advance a free trade arrangement with the United States they will need at every step of the negotiation to ensure they are not undermining the arrangement and obligations in the CER with New Zealand.”

“The simplest way round this possibility and potential for delay and fish hook surprises to surface at a later point is to ask New Zealand into the tent and be part of the team from the start.

“Our economies, cultures and international objectives are similar – let’s strengthen the free trade, free world linkages in this part of the world by doing a free-trade negotiation once and doing it properly,” concluded Mr Barnett.

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