The importance of trade for New Zealand


Watch Stephen discuss the importance of trade negotiations and update on latest developments with the Rural Exchange team.

Business welcomes new look TPP

Read Stephen’s press release on behalf of the NZ International Business Forum welcoming the Comprehensive and Progressive for Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP):

11 November 2017 – The New Zealand International Business Forum (NZIBF) congratulates Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Trade Minister David Parker and their officials on concluding an agreement with eleven partners on the core elements of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

“Our new Government has succeeded with CPTPP, not only in preserving essential elements of the original agreement, particularly in terms of improved market access to Japan, Canada and other markets, but has also softened its impact in areas that were previously contentious in New Zealand” said NZIBF Executive Director Stephen Jacobi from DaNang, Viet Nam.

Mr Jacobi said that the crucial market access package of TPP remains unchanged, but other elements including intellectual property (copyright and patents) had been suspended. The Government had also successfully satisfied its concerns related to the purchase of residential property by overseas tax residents and investor state dispute settlement (ISDS).

“This is a major achievement – CPTPP is essentially a new agreement which recognises that aspects of the previous agreement had been problematic for some in civil society, while not diminishing the economic impact and the new opportunities created for New Zealand exporters.”

Mr Jacobi noted that the Treaty of Waitangi had once again been fully protected, along with the right to regulate in the national interest in areas like the environment and public health. He drew attention to clauses in the agreement seeking to upholding environment and labour standards and address fishing subsidies. He hoped that all parties in the New Zealand Parliament could support the new look TPP.

“With CPTPP we have an opportunity not only to restore the bipartisan consensus around trade, but also to move on to thinking more deeply about how this agreement and others in the pipeline can be made to work better for people. The business community certainly hopes this can be a new basis for a better discussion about trade and its impacts in New Zealand and we look forward to working with the Government to complete the remaining work and to bring the agreement into force as soon as possible”.

What is China’s New Silk Road ?

Watch Stephen explain China’s “Belt and Road” Initiative to Eric Young on TV3′s AM Show on 11 July 2017


NZ/Pacific Alliance – game on!

Stephen welcomes the launch of FTA negotiations between NZ and the Pacific Alliance – see the NZIBF statement on the Tradeworks site here.

TPP needed now more than ever

On behalf of the NZ International Business Forum Stephen welcomes the announcement that the remaining 11 members of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) are planning to continue to implement TPP.  See his statement on the Tradeworks site here.

Trading in an uncertain world – the post-TPP agenda for New Zealand and Asia

On 6 April 2017 Stephen addressed the World Services Group in Auckland – read his remarks on the Tradeworks website here.

A Trade Policy for Our Times (reprise)

Read Stephen’s assessment of the Trade Agenda 2030 released by Prime Minister Bill English on 24 March 2017 – here.

Further information on Trade Agenda 2030 can be found here.

We cannot afford short term thinking with China says Stephen Jacobi

Read Stephen’s article in the NZ Herald calling for NZ/China relations to be more diverse and sustainable – here

Stephen talks with Duncan Garner about Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s visit

Watch Stephen talk with Duncan Garner on TV3′s AM Show about the visit of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang  

2017 – a year of growth and commemoration for NZ and China

This is an op ed Stephen wrote for the Chinese Herald, published on 10 March 2017.

2017 looks set to be an important and memorable year for the New Zealand China relationship.

Firstly, a visit to New Zealand by Premier Li Keqiang is expected in the coming months.  This is exciting news and demonstrates the great value China places on its relationship with us.  We can anticipate and look forward to renewed commitments to growing trade, cooperation in science and culture, people-to-people connections and more.

In the field of economic cooperation, this year has got off to a great start.  The Taniwha Dragon Economic Summit was held in February to promote opportunities for Maori led businesses with China.  These businesses already export $200 million a year to China, and the summit hoped to grow this number significantly.

There are some great projects around the country where Maori and Chinese are working together to achieve common goals.  I recently heard about Peppers Carrington Resort in Northland, where the new owner Shanghai CRED Real Estate is working with local iwi to ensure Maori cultural frameworks are understood and respected at the property.

Chinese language learning in New Zealand is getting a real boost this year, with the arrival of 144 Mandarin Language Assistants who will teach primary and secondary school students all over the country.  This is the largest number of assistants to arrive from China and shows real demand from schools for Chinese.

Later this year in Beijing a “One Belt, One Road” Forum is being held in Beijing.  That will be an opportunity for us to explore in greater depth how New Zealand can contribute to this bold new initiative on the part of the Chinese leadership, building on our membership of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank.

2017 is also a year of milestones.  This year marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and New Zealand.  While many people may not appreciate the significance of this anniversary, it reminds us New Zealand was among the first Western nations to recognise the Peoples’ Republic of China in 1972.  Our relationship has since been marked by a number of other ‘firsts’, including our ground-breaking Free Trade Agreement which will be ten years old next year and which the two governments hope to upgrade before then

Another milestone being commemorated during 2017 is the 120th anniversary of the birth of Rewi Alley, the most famous New Zealander in China.  This year is also the 120th anniversary of Alley’s birth, the 90th anniversary of his arrival in China and the 30th anniversary of his death.  In both New Zealand and China this year Alley’s extraordinary legacy will be celebrated with a number of large events to mark the occasion.

The New Zealand China Council provides high level support for all these activities.  We are a small organisation, but our mission is big:  to demonstrate to all Kiwis that China is much more than a country to sell things to.  The Council is made up of a diverse group of influential New Zealanders, with interests ranging from trade and investment to tourism and education.  But the one thing that connects us is our passion and enthusiasm for China and the opportunities the relationship brings to New Zealand.

In the context of our wide-ranging relationship with China New Zealand’s large and growing Chinese community plays a key role.  We welcome you as immigrants and visitors to New Zealand and we are grateful for all you contribute to building diversity in our society.

We look forward to working hard throughout 2017 to share our enthusiasm for the New Zealand-China relationship with as many of you as possible.