Con­fer­ence notes

Exporter - - EDITOR’S LETTER -

While I wasn’t able to stay for the en­tire Go Global con­fer­ence this year (held in Auck­land on May 26th) I was there long enough to pick up plenty of in­sights into New Zealand’s in­creas­ingly dy­namic ex­port sec­tor. There are a lot of pos­i­tive things hap­pen­ing in the ex­port space that of­ten es­capes main­stream me­dia.

Trade min­is­ter Todd McLay de­liv­ered a con­vinc­ing sell on the po­ten­tial im­pact of the TPP agree­ment – and the sta­tis­tics, I must ad­mit, are hard to ig­nore. For a start there’s the fact that the agree­ment opens up ac­cess to 40 per­cent of the world’s econ­omy. It will mean New Zealand gets treated the same, or bet­ter than, our com­peti­tors. As an ex­am­ple, New Zealand beef cur­rently has a 40 per­cent tar­iff im­posed by Ja­pan. Un­der the TPP agree­ment this will re­duce to nine per­cent. Aus­tralia is cur­rently on 19 per­cent.

In four to five years’ time 90 per­cent of our traded goods will be cov­ered by an FTA – so it’s not sur­pris­ing that the gov­ern­ment’s fo­cus will re­main on new and ex­ist­ing FTAs, as well as us­ing the WTO plat­form to lobby over­seas gov­ern­ments on their trade poli­cies. Look at the suc­cess New Zealand had through the WTO over ac­cess to the Aus­tralian mar­ket for our ap­ples.

The con­fer­ence de­liv­ered some in­ter­est­ing in­sights on ‘tak­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion to the world’ too, high­lighted by the ex­am­ples of F12 (the Fam­ily of Twelve win­ery col­lab­o­ra­tion) and Ko­tahi, the freight and lo­gis­tics joint ven­ture. Proof of the power of col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing!

The New Zealand am­bas­sadors to Mex­ico, Viet­nam and Spain pre­sented in­for­ma­tive over­views of their re­spec­tive ter­ri­to­ries, and it was in­ter­est­ing to learn more about the fastest grow­ing mar­ket in South­east Asia – namely Viet­nam, the sub­ject of our cover story.

In fact, as am­bas­sador Haike Man­ning in­formed the con­fer­ence gath­er­ing, with GDP growth run­ning at 6.5 per­cent, Viet­nam is sec­ond only to In­dia as the world’s fastest grow­ing econ­omy. For New Zealand ex­port firms it’s an op­por­tu­nity just beyond our doorstep – made even closer by Air New Zealand’s di­rect flights to Ho Chi Minh City.

En­joy this is­sue, and as al­ways we’d ap­pre­ci­ate your feed­back.

Glenn H. Baker editor@ex­porter­

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