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China FTA – levelling the standards playing field

Media Release 7 April 2008.

China FTA – levelling the standards playing field.

The New Zealand Manufacturers and Exporters Association (NZMEA), says that the benefits from the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China can only be determined once the full agreement is examined.

To be effective, it must be ratified through the parliamentary process and “the devil will be in the detail”, says Chief Executive John Walley.

“Although the signing of the PTA is currently receiving attention, much examination still needs to be done post-deal and only then can we estimate the extent of its outcome for our economy”.

Mr. Walley says that manufacturers and exporters have identified some key issues that need to be addressed if the agreement is to be welcomed. For them, the New Zealand laboratory reports must be acceptable to the Chinese authorities and the China Compulsory Certification (CCC) standards also applied in New Zealand. Imported goods must comply with New Zealand standards.

“This position is not about being anti-competition or calling for protective tariffs and barriers to remain in place, but it is about ensuring a level playing field. It recognises that New Zealand cannot have a FTA with China under the same terms that it would with other developed countries due to the huge differences in economies of scale and labour costs. This agreement might offer significant, immediate benefits to our economy, but the converse could apply in the long term”.

“Currently, New Zealand exports going into China are tested in China to the CCC requirements and this significantly adds to their cost and delay in market access. At the same time, Chinese imports arriving here have an obligation to comply with product safety requirements but enforcement is lacking”.

“The China FTA provides the opportunity to prevent poor quality imports coming into New Zealand that not only undercut the profitability of local firms, but also place the safety of the consumer at risk. Any agreement will need to be enforced, and details of the agreement open to a full examination prior to substantive comment. However, what we will look for is a fair deal for our companies and the wider New Zealand economy in the future”.

NZMEA – the authentic and independent voice for manufacturers and exporters.


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