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Forget About A Free Trade Deal With The US

Forget About A Free Trade Deal With The US, Otago Economics Expert Says

New Zealand just isn’t important enough to the world’s greatest superpower

When it comes to winning Free Trade Agreements (FTA), Australia is on the A-list and New Zealand is on the B-list and it’s not because of politics - it’s simply because we’re not that important according to the University of Otago’s Head of Economics.

Paul Wooding says as the United States and Australia thrash out details of a FTA in Canberra, New Zealand has once again been left out in the cold.

“There are some pretty clear reasons why, from a US perspective, Australia is getting the red carpet treatment and New Zealand is not. It has often been said that the FTA is a payback for Australia’s support of the Iraq War, but that is too simplistic and does not do justice to the loyal relationship between Australia and the US that stretches back decades. It also fails to recognise Australia’s importance as a trading destination for the US.

“In simple terms, even if New Zealand did reverse its nuclear ship policy or sent troops to Iraq, we don’t interest the US enough as a trading destination. The US is such a strategically powerful nation, and New Zealand is not, so there will always be an imbalance in what each nation can offer,” says Mr Wooding.

Rather than getting depressed, he says New Zealand should be realistic about where it fits in the world.

Obtaining a binding multilateral agreement for trade through the World Trade Organisation still remains New Zealand’s best bet while bilateral FTAs should be considered “and China could be a big opportunity”, the Otago University academic argues.

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