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TPP Good News for New Zealand

TPP Good News for New Zealand

by Dr Llew Richards, chief executive of IANZ

We all like to travel. We all buy stuff from overseas. But sometimes we pay up to twice the price for something in New Zealand that we would pay overseas. In some cases, we export goods that have great difficulty getting into overseas countries – possibly because of high tariffs (duties), sometimes for technical or regulatory reasons.

One of the great benefits for New Zealand from the TPP is there is now a mechanism to address these technical and regulatory issues which are barriers to trade. New Zealand has a very open, liberal trading system that requires products to be safe, but does not impose a lot of red tape. Other countries can take a different approach and New Zealand exports can face significant regulatory obstacles.

We have a global regime to ensure products can be tested to make sure they are safe, and for those test results to be accepted in other countries (around two thirds of New Zealand exports must be tested in accredited laboratories, prior to export). Unfortunately, some regulators in other countries add additional bureaucratic hurdles which have the effect of slowing down, or even stopping, New Zealand exports.

What the TPP agreement does is introduce a mechanism where all regulators in 12 countries can take advantage of the benefits and efficiencies provided by accreditation. It also allows New Zealand to take action if goods are stopped because of non-acceptance overseas of the conformity assessment process, such as testing, here in New Zealand.

Yes, the big wins for New Zealand may well come from the reduction in tariffs, but the TPP agreement is much more than that. It actually offers the opportunity to really streamline the regulatory process – remove the red-tape and bureaucracy, and actually make a real difference in trade facilitation.


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