8 Nov - Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker says the Government will not shrink away from New Zealand’s leadership role on free trade - but it must be on our terms. Before heading to Apec, Parker spoke to Sam Sachdeva, Newsroom's Foreign Affairs and Trade EditorNewsroom's Foreign Affairs and Trade Editor about taking on “the excesses of globalised capital” and avoiding a public backlash. Befitting his status as one of Labour’s policy wonks, David Parker has been handed an array of challenging roles.
The economic development and environment portfolios, both areas where the Government has some ambitious plans, would be challenging enough, with the Attorney-General position adding more work again.
Yet Parker’s toughest role may be as Trade and Export Growth Minister, where he will be tasked with satisfying the scepticism of supporters regarding free trade deals while placating exporters and the business community.
Early signs have been positive, with a ban on foreign buyers fulfilling Labour’s pre-election pledge without jeopardising TPP talks and existing trade deals (with the exception of Singapore). Yet tougher obstacles may lie ahead.
FTAs 'sexy' but not enough
Under the previous National government, trade ministers Tim Groser and Todd McClay made a virtue of signing New Zealand up to as many free trade agreements as possible.
The Trade Agenda 2030 strategy, unveiled by McClay earlier this year, set a target of having 90 per cent of New Zealand’s exports covered by FTAs.
Parker is less convinced, saying of FTAs: “They’re sexy but they’re not the be-all and end-all.”
“Exports could go down and you could still meet that [90 per cent] target - FTAs are not the driver of investment in the new products and services that we need to sell to the world.”
Continue here to read the full article on Newsroom || November 8, 2017 |||