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Leave TPP slowcoaches behind, New Zealand farmers urge

Leave TPP slowcoaches behind, New Zealand farmers urge

With Prime Minister John Key and President Barack Obama showing strong support for a comprehensive Trans Pacific Partnership, New Zealand farmers will support leaving countries behind that are not prepared to eliminate agricultural tariffs.

“The Trans Pacific Partnership was established to eliminate all tariffs and bring a new level of discipline to the use of non-tariff barriers,” says Bruce Wills, the National President of Federated Farmers of New Zealand.

“If we have a country that is not prepared to accept this reality, then they should not be allowed to slow down progress for all.

“It doesn’t mean they won’t enter in the future but a compromised TPP is no agreement at all. Federated Farmers does not wish to see the TPP drag-on like the stalled Doha talks either.

“We are genuinely enthused to see the keenness of President Obama’s administration to have the TPP concluded this year. It’s no wonder when 37 percent of American exports go to TPP countries supporting four million jobs and the United States will gain much more going forward.

“Federated Farmers TPP bottom line is the elimination, without exception, of all product tariffs. The TPP will set the benchmark for all future trade deals in the Asia-Pacific region so we cannot afford to get this wrong.

“If we set a high standard at the get-go then all future TPP entrants will have no opportunity to water it down. That includes those who may not immediately enter the TPP, but of course, we hope that they eventually will.

“According to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade, a study by the East West Centre predicts the TPP could see New Zealand’s annual exports boosted by almost $5 billion in 2025. The global effect is measured in the hundreds of billions.

“Encouragingly, our experience of Free Trade Agreements is that this figure is probably conservative.

“We only have to look at the free trade deal with Taiwan, which took effect late last year. In the year to April 2014 our exports there are up 15 percent over the year before while our exports to countries of the ASEAN region are up 17 percent

“At Fieldays I learned that there were originally thousands of lines to be agreed on the TPP but encouragingly we seem down to the last 20 percent.

“I know there have been false dawns in the past but we believe a successful end is in sight,” Mr Wills concluded.


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