''Tell Us How, Mr Sutton?''
Press Release: 10 February 2005,
"Tell Us How, Mr Sutton?"
In response to Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Suttons assurances that the Government would look after New Zealand manufacturers when free trade deals were negotiated and that New Zealand manufacturers would "have to innovate", MADENZ founder Judith Bell asked Mr Sutton to tell us how.
"Tell us how New Zealand manufacturers can 'innovate' around China's competitive advantage of 25 cents an hour labour rates (if they are paid at all), Mr Sutton?"
"Tell us how we can "innovate" around Chinese state-owned manufacturing enterprises whose 'bad loans' (ie state subsidies) contribute to US$500 billion worth of bad loans for China's state-owned banks, Mr Sutton?"
"Tell us how we can "innovate" around the Peoples Bank of China - a bank which manipulates and artificially under-values its currency to subsidise Chinese exports, Mr Sutton?"
"While Mr Sutton is postulating over how to answer these queries, he may also wish to re-think his fairy-tale notion that research and development, constant production of new products 'where price is not so important' and 'new ways of doing things' will lead to success for New Zealand manufacturers", said Mrs Bell.
"On his many government sponsored trips to China, surely Mr Sutton has noticed the seven story high Chinese department stores which solely sell counterfeit products - new products which are copied from the West and produced in China, often within seven days of entering the market."
"While the Chinese are laughing at our patent and copyright laws and at the ease with which they were able to manipulate eager and naive New Zealand trade negotiators and politicians into declaring China a 'market economy', they are not so amused by the legislation to be introduced in the US Senate tomorrow. If this bill is approved and China does not stop manipulating the value of its currency within six months, it will face a 27.5% tariff on all exports to the United States."
"Accordingly, if Mr Sutton sincerely wishes to look after New Zealand manufacturers and if he cannot answer my queries, I would be happy for him to cheat and take a leaf out of the US Senator's book who is sponsoring this bill." Mrs Bell said from Mt Maunganui today.
Contact Judith Bell: firstname.lastname@example.org