Value of working consistently towards free trade

Movement in New Zealand’s Asian partnerships shows the value of consistent work towards free trade, says ExportNZ.

Executive director Catherine Beard says, in a media release, that the partial completion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the upgrade of the NZ-China free trade deal bring solid benefits with the promise of more.

“It’s disappointing that India is not in RCEP, as this would have delivered a massive market for New Zealand goods, but the deal is still positive for New Zealand as it helps 15 countries align on trade rules in our region.

“Easier cross-border trade for all the other RCEP countries will make it more compelling for India to join at a later date.”

Catherine Beard said the upgrade of the NZ-China free trade deal showed how trade deals can be improved over time.

“The upgrade means more access for NZ’s wood and paper products and faster transport of fresh food exports like seafood into China, while both countries will be held to higher environmental standards.

“There are no changes for dairy in the upgrade, but most dairy tariffs will be gone by 2022, and tariffs on milk powder by 2025, in any case.

“Both RCEP and the NZ-China upgrade show that once you have trade rules in place they can be improved, as political opposition subsides and the benefits become apparent.”

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