Central District Times

Columns
Tuesday, October 13, 2015

As a small country relying on exports, New Zealand can't get rich selling things to ourselves.

That's why the 800 million customers in the recently completed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement will make all the difference.

It will build on the Government's wider plan to diversify and strengthen our economy, support more jobs and provide more opportunities for Kiwis to get ahead.

As the largest economy, the United States is responsible for over a quarter of all household consumption in the world.

Japan is the world's third largest economy and the TPP includes both of them. New Zealand has being trying to get free trade agreements with these two nations for 25 years.

In fact the 12 countries involved in the TPP account for 36 per cent of the world economy. Last year alone New Zealand sold $28 billion worth of goods and services to the other 11 countries in the TPP.

With these numbers in mind, it's no surprise that the TPP is New Zealand's biggest ever trade deal. It will save New Zealand exporters around $259 million a year in tariffs compared to what we currently have to pay just to get our products into these markets. That's money that our exporters can now spend growing and innovating their businesses.

This deal will save the New Zealand dairy industry for example, $102 million on the $4.6 billion worth of products exported to TPP countries.

Another sector set to benefit is New Zealand's red meat industry - $2.3 billion worth of product is currently sold to TPP countries and this agreement will save us around $72 million in tariffs. Other industries set to save millions of dollars in tariffs include wine, horticulture and forestry.

Tariff savings are just the start of the benefits this trade agreement offers to New Zealand. Barriers to access are often even more important to exporters and eliminating these barriers will unlock enormous opportunities.

All this is expected to be worth at least $2.7 billion a year to New Zealand by 2030. We know from the free trade deal with China that these figures are likely to be conservative.

Two-way trade with China exploded after that agreement was signed.

Now the TPP negotiations have concluded I hope some of the doubters will realise that many of the concerns raised previously were unfounded and have not been reflected in the agreement. We have certainly not given up our right to govern our own country and nor will New Zealanders pay more for subsidised medicines.

The signing of the TPP is a very positive step for New Zealand, and especially for rural and provincial New Zealand. It will be a real boost for our economy. It has been welcomed by many of New Zealand's top export companies and business organisations.

"Now the TPP negotiations have concluded I hope some of the doubters will realise that many of the concerns raised previously were unfounded and have not been reflected in the agreement. " Ian McKelvie MP for Rangitikei