Trade debate takes off in US – and NZ!

by | May 2, 2015 | Uncategorized


On a rare day in Washington recently it looked as though the Congress and Administration could finally agree on something. Congressional leaders from both sides released for discussion a draft ‘fast track’ trade bill to authorise the President to conduct and complete trade negotiations including TPP. Subsequent wrangling revealed the limits of bipartisanship as the President fought hard to convince fellow Democrats and the Republican leadership sought to placate Tea Party protectionists. The debate was as much about the roles and responsibilities of legislative and executive branches as trade itself. It revealed however an extraordinary scepticism, if not downright hostility, about the effects of trade on the US economy. Offshoring and job losses are routinely raised while little attention is paid to increasing productivity at a time of economic downturn – this essentially means American workers are producing more with less but there is less demand. What to do if not trade more, ie grow demand for American goods worldwide by reducing costs and increasing efficiency in supply consumers’ needs. That debate continues as the renamed ‘Trade Promotion Accountability” bill makes its way through Congress as an essential pre-requisite for concluding TPP.

Trade is also increasingly under scrutiny in NZ as TPP gathers momentum and the NZ Korea FTA is debated by the Parliamentary Select Committee (so much for the accusation that these things are done in secret!). The Korea FTA is not a perfect agreement (some tariffs will remain even after a lengthy implementation period) but it was important to be concluded to ensure NZ was not discriminated against in the Korean market where a number of competitors already have FTAs. The public debate is more about the investment provisions of the FTA, which are seen as a stalking horse for TPP.  In fact the Korea FTA goes further than previous FTAs in maintaining a balance between investor protection and the right to regulate. There is little risk to NZ from this agreement.

This post was prepared by Stephen Jacobi, Executive Director of the NZ International Business Forum


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




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...


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...


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...