Federated Farmers submission on the International Treaty Examination of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP)
Federated Farmers has had a long history of supporting efforts to liberalise trade and reduce trade barriers. The Federation has also urged producers in other countries to embrace trade liberalisation, drawing on New Zealand farmers’ experiences since the 1980s reforms. Not only is free trade beneficial from the perspectives of economic efficiency and welfare, but it provides greater consumer choice, liquidity in markets, greater opportunities for partnerships and the further development of domestic, regional and global value chains, providing a boost to the global economy.
Summary of General Comments
Federated Farmers supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement between the governments of Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States of America (USA) and Viet Nam and recommends that it be ratified by New Zealand as soon as possible. TPP when ratified will provide New Zealand with a free trade agreement (FTA) with the worlds first and third largest economies. It will also provide New Zealand with our first FTA with five countries including our fourth and fifth largest trading partners, USA and Japan respectively, as well as Canada, Mexico and Peru.
Federated Farmers would like to acknowledge the work of successive governments and the negotiators in getting us to this point. While outcomes could have been better for dairy, it is still a positive result and New Zealand farmers are much better off being part of it than not, as that would place us at a competitive disadvantage and there is no appetite to be disadvantaged. As new members look to join there is also the potential to continue to improve the results in the future.
Bipartisan support of trade and trade agreements has always been an important feature of New Zealand governments, given New Zealand’s unique position as a small, developed, trading nation reliant on the export of primary products. Federated Farmers is disappointed to see that bipartisan support has been eroded and the general attitude towards trade is not as open and supportive as in years gone past as trade agreements are good for business and good for New Zealand.
With TPP countries representing $28trillion in GDP and being home to 11% of world’s population in a region which is continuing to grow not being on a level playing field with the ability to access those people and wealth would be detrimental to New Zealand’s ongoing competitiveness and successes as a trading nation.