New thinking, new partnership sought with Japan Dominion Post – 12 May 2008 By Stephen Jacobi

by | May 12, 2008 | Trade Working Blog

Remove

Building the business and economic relationship with Japan will be the focus of the first ever Japan NZ Partnership Forum which opens in Tokyo on 14 May.
Winston Churchill’s oft-quoted remark ? “nations have no permanent friends and no permanent enemies, just permanent interests” ? applies even more particularly to New Zealand in this first decade of the 21st century.

In these credit-crunch, carbon-constrained, coalition-building times New Zealand’s permanent interests are to achieve a triple bottom line of security, prosperity and sustainability in its dealings with the rest of the world.

While, for many, foreign affairs may seem not to change much, who would have thought even ten years ago that New Zealand would have negotiated a free trade agreement with China ? well in advance of similar agreements with our long-time friends the United States and Japan.

Over thirty years ago when the United Kingdom joined the European Economic Community, New Zealand learned a valuable lesson about the need to trade with a diverse range of partners. That lesson is one that still has relevance today. Simply put, the greater number of trading partners you have, the less impact a change to the economic or political environment of one partner will have on your economy.

The China FTA has taught us another lesson. That it is possible to make progress in a relationship despite political differences by concentrating on the areas of mutual benefit and so produce an excellent result for both economies.

The lesson is one that we are learning with the United States where a highway is being built around the rock in the road of nuclear weapons.  It is a lesson worth bearing in mind as a group of over 40 New Zealanders heads to Tokyo this coming week for the first ever Japan New Zealand Partnership Forum on 14-15 May.

New Zealand and Japan are likeminded on most global issues ? human rights, the rule of law, sustainable development ? and both have signed the Kyoto Protocol.  This paper has in recent months highlighted the differences between us on whaling.   Many readers will recall that under former Prime Minister Muldoon it was our different views on agricultural protection which hit the headlines.

These differences of view are strongly held and need to be addressed through engagement and diplomacy.  Our permanent interests are multi-faceted and sophisticated relationships need to be able to deal with difference.

For much of the last thirty years Japan has been either New Zealand’s second or third largest trading partner. Japan is still the second largest economy in the world ? twice as large in fact as China.  It is often claimed that China is set to become Asia’s largest economy ? that time may well come but it is certainly not here yet.

The point is that in our commendable moves to develop the relationship with China we run the risk of neglecting other critically important markets.  Helen Clark’s visit to Japan and Korea this week reflects the Government’s view, backed by business, that there are important opportunities in both markets to be  explored.

In the case of Japan there are very real risks for New Zealand if the business and economic relationship is not further strengthened. Our competitors, Australia and Chile, are actively seeking closer relations with Japan, and are making progress. Australia is negotiating an FTA and Chile has one already.
Today there is a 38.5 percent tariff for imports of New Zealand and Australian beef to Japan. The impact on beef exports to Japan will be severe if Australia manages to secure an FTA and this tariff was removed.

For the time being while Japan is reluctant to enter into FTA negotiations with New Zealand, otherpressures coming to bear.  The pace of economic integration is accelerating in the region as important new FTAs are concluded such as that between Korea and the United States. An FTA between New Zealand and Korea is also on the cards.  The rise in commodity prices is already leading to shortages of dairy products in Japan as the Japanese supply chain struggles to respond.

The only way to nurture and grow New Zealand’s ties with Japan is to maintain constant dialogue.

This is the background against which this first Japan New Zealand Partnership Forum is being held.  With the theme of “New Thinking, New Partnership”, over 90 participants, including over 50 on the Japanese side, will focus on the potential for expanded co-operation in the areas of Asia Pacific growth and development, business innovation and responses to climate change and sustainability.

The Forum provides an unparalleled opportunity to raise New Zealand’s profile in Japan, capture the imagination of influential Japanese community leaders and show how the permanent interests of both countries can be advanced through an enduring partnership.

REGISTER WITH TRADE WORKS

Register to stay up to date with latest news, as well as saving and discussing articles you’re interested in.

 

Remove

 

Latest News

NZIBF 2022 Chair Report

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 2022 CHAIR’S REPORT I am pleased to present my second report on the activities and achievements of the NZ International Business Forum (NZIBF) for 2022-23, our fifteenth year of operations.  At the outset I would like to thank Members for...

NZ BUSINESS LEADERS AT APEC 2022

New Zealand business will be represented at the APEC Leaders’ Week in Bangkok, commencing 13 November, by members of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). New Zealand’s three members – Rachel Taulelei, Malcolm Johns and Anna Curzon – supported by Stephen Jacobi...

Submission to MFAT for CPTPP Review

30 September 2022 Phil Mellor Economic Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Wellington (By email) Dear Phil, Thank you for your email of 1 September, seeking our comments on the three year review of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans...

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

The now widespread use of the term “Indo Pacific” to describe the region to which New Zealand belongs brings a risk of geographical confusion. When did the “Asia Pacific” become the Indo Pacific?   For thirty years or more New Zealand has sought to enhance...

NZ Herald: Turbulence in global trade

Amidst the political topsy turvy of recent weeks came the news that the Government has refreshed its Trade Recovery Strategy.  That’s good news because, for exporters and the global economy as a whole, it’s tough out there. The pandemic is by no means over, there...

Address to World Affairs Forum, 22 August 2022

ADDRESS TO THE WORLD AFFAIRS FORUM AUCKLAND, 22 AUGUST 2022 STEPHEN JACOBI EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR NZ INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS FORUM TURBULENCE IN GLOBAL TRADE Thanks to Greg Thwaite for inviting me to speak to you this evening. It’s good to be back in the habit of meeting...

Trade and Climate Change: State of Play

TRADE AND CLIMATE CHANGE: STATE OF PLAY. A discussion paper prepared for the NZIBF by Adrian Macey, June 2022. Download here. Update: NZ-EU FTA The NZ-EU FTA has been finalised.  Article X.6 of the  trade and sustainable development chapter is on trade and...