Archives for May 2014

TPP and the primary industries

Mention of TPP causes different reactions – fear and loathing in some quarters, unbridled optimism in others.

Today we meet against the backdrop of the most recent gathering of TPP Trade Ministers in Singapore.

In a pattern that has been repeated several times in recent years, Ministers declared themselves to have made great progress but without announcing an end to the negotiations.

Today I’d like to provide some further background on TPP and its significance for the primary industries.

Read Stephen’s address to the Primary Industry Summit here

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.

Think global, act global

On 2 May 2014 Stephen was honoured to join the community of Whititreia International at their graduation ceremony.  In his address to graduands Stephen urged them to take advantage of the new dimensions of a globalized world:

“You have heard it said:  “think global, act local”. It is good to act local, to build strong local communities, to develop competitive local businesses. Today I want to challenge you to think global and act global! Because today, perhaps more so than at any other time in our history, local is global and global is local. This is the future we need to embrace today”

Read Stephen’s full address on the NZIBF website.