A one per cent saving in tariffs on wood and paper exports under the China Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will leave exporters rightly asking themselves ‘is that it,’ National’s Trade spokesperson Todd McClay says.
“The $36 million of gains on wood the Prime Minister is promoting are insignificant when you consider the $32 billion worth of total trade with China.
“It’s clear the deal was always going to be done, however trade experts will be concerned the Government has settled with China because of difficulties in the relationship experienced by the New Zealand business community earlier this year.
“New Zealand officials have worked very hard and are to be commended. However, they have been let down by a distracted Government that has failed to prioritise trade.
“The Government now needs to prove itself in trade. RCEP will not deliver any significant gains for New Zealand’s agriculture, particularly dairy, if it’s even done.
“The fledgling US FTA is going nowhere fast because Jacinda Ardern has ruled out going to the White House to meet with President Trump anytime soon.
“The agriculture trade offer from the European Union is so underwhelming that officials don’t know what to do and the Government has stopped talking about the Pacific Alliance FTA. All of this is a 3/10 for trade.
“The Prime Minister needs to demonstrate to the New Zealand business community that they’re not willing to settle for any old deal. She needs to commit to the same high level outcome for agriculture trade with the EU as New Zealand has with the original China FTA and she should get to Washington ASAP, anything less will be another fail.”