Bali WTO package welcomed by NZ businesses

by | Dec 9, 2013 | Media Releases

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The New Zealand International Business Forum (NZIBF) has welcomed the package of measures agreed by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) meeting in Bali.

“This limited agreement shows the WTO’s 159 members can still make decisions.   While it is not the substantive outcome to the WTO’s Doha Development Agenda we have been seeking for some time, it is nonetheless significant and can be welcomed by exporters,” said NZIBF Chairman Sir Graeme Harrison.

The WTO package covers food security, development and trade facilitation.

“For New Zealand the trade facilitation measures are likely to be most significant,” said Sir Graeme.

“These include measures to speed up air cargo, to established “trusted trader” relationships between countries and to harmonize the way customs information is made available. Over time this should help lower the time, cost and complexity of doing business.”

“The food security provisions should help prevent disputes arising when countries decide to stockpile food for emergency situations. The bigger picture of using trade as a means to promote food security, by ensuring consumers have access to food supplies when they need them, is not addressed by this package.  The broader questions of market access, export and production subsidies still need to be resolved by the WTO.”

Sir Graeme said the WTO agreement would hopefully be followed by an agreement in this week’s Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) discussions in Singapore.

“The TPP package, if it can be secured this week, is likely to be of more immediate benefit to New Zealand.  TPP is however designed to spur progress at the multilateral level.  Exporters need both if trade and investment are to pay their full role as engines of growth in coming years.”

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