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TLN Supports Oxfam Criticism Of Trading Nations

TLN Supports Oxfam Criticism Of World’s Largest Trading Nations

Oxfam’s criticism of the world’s largest trading nations is justified, says the Trade Liberalisation Network.

TLN Executive Director, Stephen Jacobi was responding to the release of the Oxfam report “Rigged Rules and Double Standards” . “Oxfam has correctly diagnosed the number one problem – trade barriers and protectionist practices of the world’s richest nations. The reality for poor countries today is that their products are often shut out of the rich world’s markets while they are forced to compete with grossly subsidised exports from Europe and the United States”.

Mr Jacobi said New Zealand exporters knew only too well what this felt like. “While the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations saved New Zealand over $525 million in tariffs, our exports still face over $ 884 million in duties in overseas markets. Tariffs on annual dairy exports alone are worth more than our entire trade with Canada. A study undertaken last year by Standards New Zealand, MFAT and Trade NZ found that non-tariff trade barriers cost New Zealand exporters around $1 billion annually. One quarter of the 381 exporters surveyed said they were completely denied market access in some countries”.

Mr Jacobi said New Zealand’s excellent record in providing tariff free entry of products from South Pacific countries as well as the world’s poorest nations contrasted with the European and US export subsidies and restrictive trade practices. “In this respect the coincidence in timing between the Oxfam report and the US National Trade Estimates highlighting trade barriers in markets other than the US could hardly be more ironic”.

Mr Jacobi said there were aspects to the Oxfam report that New Zealand exporters would disagree with. “It’s hard to see that the World Trade Organisation favours big corporates. The WTO is an organisation of governments. But we agree the WTO can be made to work better and we would welcome further discussion with Oxfam on issues arising from the report” concluded Mr Jacobi.

Ends

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