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Japan and the Trans Pacific Partnership

21 April 2013

Japan and the Trans Pacific Partnership

Having just returned from Japan and the World Farmers Organisation General-Assembly, Federated Farmers President Bruce Wills is delighted New Zealand will support Japan’s bid to join Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations.

“In recent days I have visited Japanese farms and with Chief Executive Conor English, have met with Japan’s faming leaders,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President and World Farmers Organisation Oceania board member.

“Japan has taken a giant step towards joining TPP negotiations, given the statement of Minister Tim Groser. Japan will hopefully join negotiations on what could become the largest free trade zone on earth.

“What the Japanese Government is doing here takes genuine courage and vision. We know its Government wishes to improve Japanese agriculture because the country is the world’s largest net importer.

“In Japan and at the WFO, we did our best to assure Japanese faming leaders that free trade will be beneficial to them. Clearly, the next few years will be critical to ensure the reality of the TPP lives up to its promise.

“Right now, tariffs alone on New Zealand’s red meat exports are costing each New Zealand sheep and beef farm some $19,000 in lost income each year.

“This is why Federated Farmers is committed to doing our best to see these barriers fall. It is why we thank the material support of Beef+LambNZ, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Ministry for Primary Industries.

“Federated Farmers would have struggled to fund our participation at the WFO, let alone provide support to WFO initiatives like its new trade policy.

“New Zealand needs to win the hearts and minds of farmers and farmer bodies, some of whom possess stupendous financial resources.

“That is why we believe the engagement of our farming bodies with those of the TPP nations, like Japan, will benefit all concerned. As the New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement shows, the benefits of free trade flow in both directions.

“As we see it, the opportunity is not just for New Zealand but in helping our colleagues to farm better. Simply put, we cannot hope to feed the entire world but New Zealand has so much to offer in going a long way to achieving it,” Mr Wills concluded.


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