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.

Is there still hope for TPP?

Stephen assesses the prospects for the Trans Pacific Partnership in 2015 here.

The big question for trade policy watchers as we start a new year is whether the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations might be concluded.  Last year I thought negotiations could be concluded by April.  I was wrong.  This year I can make no such prediction, save one – if TPP is not finished soon, we may need to move on to something else.

 

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

The Trans Pacific Partnership – why what and when

Address by Stephen Jacobi to the Wellington branch of The New Zealand Institute for International Affairs.

What’s next for New Zealand, the United States and the Asia Pacific region

Address by Stephen Jacobi to the Christchurch branch of the New Zealand Institute for International Affairs.

Read the full speech on the NZ US Council website.

Research shows US remains critical trade partner – NZUS Council

In the lead-up to a high-level meeting of political, business and community leaders from New Zealand and the United States, research released today highlights the strong economic and trade bonds between the two countries.

Read the full media release on the NZ US Council website.

US sabbatical to focus on US Government’s trade negotiation consultation processes

Executive Director of the NZ US Council Stephen Jacobi has been awarded a Fulbright scholarship and leaves for Washington DC for a three-month sabbatical on 6 March, the NZ US Council has announced. Read the media release on the NZ US Council website.

Kiwis keeping an open mind on TPP

The majority of Kiwis support the idea of a Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), new research has found.

Read about the TPP research on the NZUS Council website.