Meat & Livestock News

NZIBF Advocates for Expansive Trade Agreements Amidst Changing Global Dynamics

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In a recent development, the New Zealand International Business Forum (NZIBF) has actively engaged with Todd McClay, the newly appointed Trade Minister, advocating for a strategic push towards more expansive trade agreements. This move is seen as a pivotal step in bolstering New Zealand’s export sector. The NZIBF, a consortium of influential industry players including Fonterra, Zespri, and NZ Winegrowers, is spearheaded by Philip Gregan.

The forum’s briefing to Minister McClay was not just a routine update. It was a clarion call for a renewed focus on securing broad-ranging Free Trade Agreements (FTAs). This approach challenges the prevailing notion among some analysts of a ‘peak FTA’ scenario, where the potential for beneficial trade deals is viewed as largely exhausted.

The NZIBF, however, counters this view with a vision of continued trade liberalisation through comprehensive, well-negotiated agreements. These agreements, while complex and time-intensive to forge, are seen as crucial for opening up new avenues for New Zealand’s exporters.

A point of contention has been the government’s previous underestimation of the NZIBF’s research into prospective FTA partners, a situation the forum hopes will see a turnaround under the new administration.

The NZIBF’s discourse also brought to light New Zealand’s role in several key plurilateral agreements. The forum underscored the potential for further liberalisation, citing examples like Sri Lanka’s interest in joining the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and Korea’s inclination towards the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). A critical aspect of these discussions was the emphasis on ensuring that such expansions do not compromise the quality of existing market access.

Addressing the broader trading landscape, the NZIBF report painted a picture of a dynamic and sometimes challenging environment.

New Zealand’s exporters are navigating a terrain marked by geopolitical shifts, diverse market barriers, and evolving digital trade dynamics. The intersection of trade with sustainability and digital innovation is particularly highlighted as an area needing more nuanced government intervention.

In a nod to environmental stewardship, the NZIBF also highlighted its members’ engagement in initiatives aimed at integrating green practices into trade, such as efforts towards green shipping and advanced carbon accounting.

In essence, the NZIBF’s interaction with the Trade Minister is a strategic move towards shaping a future where New Zealand’s trade policies are not only responsive to current market realities but are also forward-thinking in embracing comprehensive trade agreements and sustainability practices.