Trade talks at risk because of European sensitivities on agriculture, a populist Kiwi lawmaker says.
Trade talks between New Zealand and Europe risk being shot down by national or regional parliaments in the EU and should be shelved to prioritize a deal with the U.K., a populist Kiwi lawmaker has said.
Ahead of Tuesday’s meeting in Brussels between New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who are expected to discuss bilateral trade negotiations that could start in the upcoming months, trade spokesperson Fletcher Tabuteau from the populist New Zealand First party warned of “deep trouble” due to European sensitivities on agriculture.
“Given the all-powerful European farmer lobby likes New Zealand like a hole in the back of the head, our deal with the EU isn’t going to go very far, very fast,” said Tabuteau, whose party, although holding only 10 percent of the seats in Wellington’s parliament, is considered an influential kingmaker in national politics.
“The Irish, Polish and French, even the Germans have concerns about allowing [New Zealand] dairy into their free-trade deals,” Tabuteau continued, referring to a recent opinion by the European Court of Justice’s advocate general suggesting that EU trade deals need to be ratified by some 38 national and regional parliaments across the bloc. The court is likely to confirm this opinion in the coming months, which would increase the possibility of future trade deals being vetoed.
“We need to face facts and put our energies into a more likely trade deal with the United Kingdom” after its separation from the EU, Tabuteau said.
| A Politico release | January 9, 2017 |