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Trading in the new international environment

Trade Spokesperson

Friday, 28 October 2011 MEDIA STATEMENT
Trading in the new international environment

Labour will continue to support New Zealand’s best interests by promoting trade opportunities internationally but we must be smarter and not be afraid to influence the exchange rate to help our exporters, says Maryan Street, Labour’s Trade spokesperson.

“We have done well out of the Free Trade Agreement with China, with our exports growing exponentially since the agreement’s start date in October 2008. The focus which the previous Labour government put on the emerging Asian economies was rightly placed and we should continue to build on those trading relationships, while maintaining our traditional arrangements as well,” she said.

“We will seek to develop strategic trade relationships with other countries and regions, to the benefit of New Zealand. In the course of trade negotiations, we will ensure that we do not accede to conditions which undermine our sovereign status, or compromise our ability to make determinations in the interests of New Zealand’s future.

“We are opposed to the sale of land, state-owned enterprises or infrastructure being permitted through trade agreements. We believe that opportunities for foreign direct investment can be encouraged without undermining our sovereignty.

“Pharmac remains something which works for the public good in New Zealand and should not be compromised, despite pressure from multi-national pharmaceutical companies,” she said.

“People want more say in agreements being made on their behalf and in order to facilitate greater engagement with civil society over trade talks, Labour will establish a Trade Advisory Commission, similar to Australia’s, which will give the Minister independent, contestable advice on the nature of trade agreements under consideration. This Commission will consist of representatives from Business New Zealand, the Council of Trade Unions, Export New Zealand, the Employers and Manufacturers’ Association, academics and others with an interest and expertise in this area.

“We also need to assist in readying our exporters to take advantage of the new market opportunities. We will better focus New Zealand Trade and Enterprise on accessing export opportunities for New Zealand firms, and we will consult with exporting industries to see what they require to be successful abroad. The answers are different for every industry and every enterprise.

“Underneath all this will sit a new approach to monetary policy settings. We will influence the exchange rate by:

• introducing a capital gains tax which will moderate interest rates as well as encourage investment in the productive sector;
• broadening the objectives of the Reserve Bank Act beyond the maintenance of price stability;
• having exporters represented on the Board of the Reserve Bank;
• taking pressure off the official cash rate through complementary monetary and prudential policy tools;
• encouraging more aggressive Reserve Bank interventions to impose costs on currency speculation.

“Trade is our lifeblood as a country. Labour will increase our market opportunities, better prepare our exporters to take advantage of those opportunities, engage expert advice and address monetary policy to influence the exchange rate, and at the same time protect our ownership of our future,” said Maryan Street.

© Scoop Media

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