Trade update – April
China-NZ FTA Upgrade
The Upgrade entered into force on 7 April. The upgraded agreement will improve New Zealand’s access into China’s services market for a number of sectors including Airport Operations Services, Audio Visual Services, and Environmental Services. The Upgrade also provides further market access improvements for New Zealand’s wood and paper industry – over a 10-year period 99 per cent of New Zealand’s $3 billion wood and paper trade into China will be tariff-free.
The UK accession process is progressing slowly but surely.
There is not the same level of progress on new accession applications from China,Taiwan and Ecuador.
The topic of CPTPP expansion is an important issue being discussed by the Prime Minister in both Singapore and Japan this week.
The PM is due to travel to the US in May and will visit Los Angeles, Washington DC, Boston and New York. While CPTPP will be discussed, there is little prospect of any movement by the US this side of the US mid-term elections.
Details on the Indo Pacific Economic Framework is still scarce but this issue will no doubt loom large in the PM’s discussions with the President.
As with the current visit to Singapore and Japan, China will be a major focus of discussion also.
The latest round of negotiations seemed to make some progress on less contentious issues. There are several issues outstanding – agricultural market access (beef, lamb and dairy); geographic indications; patent terms; and digital trade. On some of these issues the New Zealand position has been complicated by a recent Waitangi Tribunal decision. This is requiring intense consultation with Māori and Iwi groups. It may well be that New Zealand is not able to enter into an outcome as far reaching as the recent outcome with the UK. This will be a concern for the EU.
MFAT recently held two public briefings on trade policy. One was a “hui” with Iwi and other interested parties on the UK outcome. This highlighted some of the concerns being raised in the EU context. The other was a very frank briefing from Chief Negotiator Vangelis Vitalis.
Those interested in Māori interest in the UK deal can learn more on the MFAT website:
The MFAT briefing on the 12th Round of negotiations can be found here:
NZ – GCC FTA
Discussions held in March at Ministerial level appear to have led to New Zealand and the GCC agreeing to re-engage on their FTA negotiations that have been stalled since 2009. There is still a lot of work to be done to finalise this agreement.
The nature of free trade agreements have changed since 2009. New Zealand is pushing for the inclusion of environment and labour provisions for a more modern FTA. To find out more you can visit MFAT’s website at NZ-Gulf Cooperation Council free trade agreement | New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (mfat.govt.nz).