Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 

Import News: Don't Waste Your Time, Mr Hu

Import News from the Importers Institute of New Zealand
28 October 2003 - Don't Waste Your Time, Mr Hu

Prime Minister Helen Clark said an agreement to consult on economic cooperation framework signed with Chinese President Hu Jingtao may ultimately lead towards a free trade deal. Mr Hu shouldn't hold his breath - and neither should we. It's all talk.

In five years, this government concluded only one free trade agreement (with Singapore) and that was negotiated by the previous National government. It allowed negotiations with Hong Kong to collapse, when it decided to cave in to the what is left of the local protectionist lobby.

Hong Kong, like Singapore, is wealthier than New Zealand. We stood to get substantial benefits, mainly in the area of services. But a few local clothing and shoe manufacturers worried that the agreement could result in some goods from mainland China coming in duty free.

Our negotiators demanded that only goods that were finished in Hong Kong and shipped direct from there to New Zealand would qualify for duty free entry. As garments designed and made in Hong Kong are usually sent to factories in Southern China for finishing, that request amounted to much the same as excluding the clothing sector from the agreement.

This was not acceptable to the Hong Kong government and the negotiations stalled. What are the chances, then, that this government will manage to convince its supporters in the Trade Unions and the Green anti-trade activists that they should support free trade with China? None whatsoever.

Miss Clark knows that talk of free trade is popular with the electorate and she continues to talk the talk. This week the talk is China, last week it was Thailand - another non-starter. She is still talking about a possible free trade agreement with the US, as if her peacenik politics had not completely scuttled that prospect.

Australia is on a fast track to free trade with both China and the US. The trade and investment diversion effects of Australia making those agreements, while New Zealand retreats further into military, political and economic isolationism, will have profound effects for generations to come.

Our decline relative to Australia and the rest of the OECD will only accelerate and will continue long after today's politicians return to their jobs as university lecturers and trade union officials. It is no longer a case of Tasmanianisation, what we are witnessing is the Argentineanisation of New Zealand.

The influential Australian commentator Gerrad Henderson said, "it is surprising that New Zealand is so publicly off-side with the US (the world's only superpower) while privately drifting apart from Australia (its closest ally). And more surprising still that many opinion leaders in New Zealand deny both realities."

Yes, it appears that some New Zealanders will continue to swallow this talk of free trade, all the while oblivious to the enormous damage caused by this government's fuzzy-headed trade policies. The Importers Institute will continue to expose the talk for what it really is - political spin.

--

Previous Import News items are published on our Internet site http://www.importers.org.nz.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Government: Delivering Lower Card Fees To Business

Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister David Clark has today announced the Government’s next steps to reduce merchant service fees, that banks charge businesses when customers use a credit or debit card to pay, which is estimated to save New Zealand businesses ... More>>

SEEK NZ Employment Report: April 2021

OVERVIEW OF APRIL 2021: STATE OF THE NATION: April, for the second consecutive month, saw the highest number of jobs ever advertised on seek.co.nz. Applications per job ad fell 9% month-on-month (m/m). SEEK job ads were up by 12% m/m. SEEK job ads were ... More>>

Commerce Commission: Warns Genesis Over Business Billing Errors

The Commerce Commission has issued a warning to Genesis Energy Limited about billing errors concerning electricity line charges to business customers. Genesis reported the errors to the Commission. The Commission considers that Genesis is likely to ... More>>

Stats: Lower Job Security Linked To Lower Life Satisfaction

People who feel their employment is insecure are more likely than other employed people to rate their overall life satisfaction poorly, Stats NZ said today. New survey data from the March 2021 quarter shows that 26 percent of employed people who thought ... More>>

The Conversation: The Outlook For Coral Reefs Remains Grim Unless We Cut Emissions Fast — New Research

A study of 183 coral reefs worldwide quantified the impacts of ocean warming and acidification on reef growth rates. Even under the lowest emissions scenarios, the future of reefs is not bright. More>>

The Conversation: Why Now Would Be A Good Time For The Reserve Bank Of New Zealand To Publish Stress Test Results For Individual Banks

Set against the backdrop of an economy healing from 2020’s annus horribilis , this week’s Financial Stability Report (FSR) from the Reserve Bank (RBNZ) was cautiously reassuring: the country’s financial system is sound, though vulnerabilities remain. More>>