Emerging trade agreements

Stephen spoke to the Primary Industry Summit in Wellington on 25 May.  Read his speech here.

I’d like to start today by asking the question – why do we seek negotiate trade agreements in the first place, especially when they seem so hard to I’ll then give you a sense of where I, as business observer, think some of the more current FTA negotiations are up to.

I’d also like to venture some thoughts about what all this might mean for the primary industries.

APEC in Beijing – let a thousand flowers bloom

Read Stephen’s latest commentary on the outlook for the November APEC Summit  here

The 23 New Zealand business leaders attending the APEC event might well say “let a thousand flowers bloom” – with a foot in TPP and RCEP and a strong relationship with China and our trade-thumping FTA New Zealand is well placed to benefit from whatever emerges in Beijing.

 

A hitch hiker’s guide to trade agreements

Read Stephen’s presentation to U3A in Wellington in which he outlines the background to New Zealand’s trade with the rest of the world, the Government’s approach to trade policy and the state of the TPP negotiations.

The next generation of FTAs – what does business want?

While in Qingdao , China, for the APEC Senior Officials’ meeting Stephen spoke to a workshop focused on sharing information between free trade agreements in operation in the Asia Pacific region.  He outlined what business wants to see from FTAs and what the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) wants governments to do at this point to develop the next generation of agreements:

“Next generation issues can be new approaches to old issues as much as new issues not previously thought of. Next generation issues are rather more likely to be found behind the border than at the border. And so more than ever before we need to devise robust processes to address non-tariff barriers and other “behind the border” issues. We need to develop greater coherence in rule making around the region and co-ordinate – to the greatest extent possible our approach to issues like investment, innovation and competition.We need to develop a stronger focus on services trade issues recognizing the by growing share of services trade in global commerce.We need to continue to work on the digital economy and try to incorporate new disciplines relevant to the way business is being done today, including permanent duty free access for digital products.”

Read Stephen’s full address here.

 

Preparing for FTA negotiations

On 6-10 May Stephen was in Qingdao, China, attending meetings of APEC Senior Officials. On 6 May he addressed a workshop aimed at helping APEC economies to prepare for FTA negotiations.  He spoke about the importance of consulting with the business community:

“More than ever before trade policy is becoming intrinsically linked with domestic economic policy as the implications of trade agreements reach far deeper into domestic policy settings particularly in terms of policies related to foreign investment, innovation and competition.

As the negotiating agenda has become more sophisticated, trade negotiators have been obliged to consult more fully with public stakeholders, especially business, and to interact more frequently with domestic agencies for advice as they confront a range of policy issues with which they are not accustomed.

In this context the need for a properly informed basis on which to make policy decisions for translation into trade and economic agreements is critical.”

Read Stephen’s full remarks here.

TPP and Japan – hopefully not back to the future

President Obama’s visit to Tokyo 23-25 April should tell us whether there is a way forward with the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiation.  It is in the nature of trade negotiations to teeter on the brink of collapse but there is concern that momentum risks being lost as the United States and Japan go head to head on the perennial issue of market access for agriculture.

Read Stephen’s latest blog post on the TradeWorks website.

TPP study was robust

Trade policy today is mostly not about tariffs. The vast bulk of the world’s wealth today is generated by trade in services, not goods. Finding ways to speed up the movement of goods and reduce costs may be even more significant than reductions in duties and taxes.

Read Stephen’s article in the Dominion Post commenting on the expected economic gains from TPP.

 

APEC comes to Auckland in February

The APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) meets in Auckland in February and the future health of the Asia Pacific region will be top of mind.

Read Stephen’s article on the New Zealand Herald website.

 

Securing the region’s food suppy – The APEC policy partnership on food security

Read Stephen Jacobi’s address to the Global Food Safety Forum, Dunedin

APEC Bali – not your usual tropical holiday

Stephen Jacobi profiles what’s on the agenda as APEC meets in a tropical holiday spot.

Read the article on the NZIBF website