Trade agree­ment will ben­e­fit high value branded ex­ports _______________________________

The Com­pre­hen­sive and Pro­gres­sive Agree­ment for Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship (CPTTP) trade agree­ment has the po­ten­tial to trans­form the agri­cul­tural sec­tor and at the same time ben­e­fit the en­vi­ron­ment, agribusi­ness ex­pert Dr Nic Lees of Lin­coln Uni­ver­sity sa

NZ Grower - - Future Focus -

How­ever, he added, the pub­lic needed to be con­vinced of that.

The CPTTP is the re-ne­go­ti­ated Trans Pa­cific Part­ner­ship af­ter the USA with­drew, and is a free trade agree­ment be­tween Aus­tralia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Ja­pan, Malaysia, Mex­ico, New Zealand, Peru, Sin­ga­pore and Viet­nam. Ne­go­ti­a­tions have con­cluded be­tween the coun­tries but it is yet to be rat­i­fied by New Zealand. The TTP had met some pub­lic and po­lit­i­cal op­po­si­tion.

The CPTTP could change the sec­tor from re­ly­ing on low cost com­modi­ties to a fo­cus on high value ex­ports in­ti­mately con­nected to a pris­tine en­vi­ron­ment, Dr Lees said.

“Where New Zealand pro­duc­ers are ex­port­ing high value branded prod­ucts we see an as­so­ci­ated in­crease in con­cern for the en­vi­ron­ment. Th­ese pro­duc­ers know that they need to meet con­sumers de­mand for prod­ucts to be pro­duced eth­i­cally and sus­tain­ably.”

Tar­iffs on ki­wifruit ex­ports to Ja­pan, the largest im­porter of New Zealand ki­wifruit, will be elim­i­nated. Tar­iffs on wine ex­ports to New Zealand’s fourth largest mar­ket Canada will also be re­moved.

Over­all the CPTPP could pro­vide ap­prox­i­mately $222m of tar­iff sav­ings each year. How­ever, he said, the pub­lic need to be con­vinced of th­ese ben­e­fits.

“There is sus­pi­cion that ben­e­fits of the agree­ment will not be shared equally across the econ­omy and many will see it as only ben­e­fit­ting al­ready wealthy farm­ers who are dam­ag­ing the en­vi­ron­ment,” Dr Lees said.

“For the pub­lic to get be­hind such a deal New Zealand agri­cul­ture needs to demon­strate that in­creased agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion won’t have fur­ther im­pacts on the en­vi­ron­ment and will have ben­e­fits to all New Zealan­ders.

“In fact, the great­est ben­e­fit will be to the re­gions and to agri­cul­tural in­dus­tries that are al­ready ad­dress­ing their en­vi­ron­men­tal foot­print.”

He cited the ex­am­ple of the wine and ki­wifruit in­dus­tries.

“They are com­mit­ted to min­imis­ing their en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact not be­cause of reg­u­la­tions, but be­cause they mar­ket high value branded prod­ucts and their cus­tomers de­mand that th­ese prod­ucts are pro­duced sus­tain­ably.”

This is con­trast to sec­tors such as the dairy in­dus­try which ex­port pri­mar­ily com­mod­ity prod­ucts that are used in in­gre­di­ents.

He said the an­swer to en­sur­ing that im­prove­ment in mar­ket ac­cess for our agri­cul­tural prod­ucts truly ben­e­fits all New Zealan­ders is for the agri­cul­tural sec­tor to move away from com­modi­ties to pro­duc­ing high value branded ex­ports. “This will pro­vide in­cen­tives for farm­ers to meet higher en­vi­ron­men­tal stan­dards not re­luc­tantly as a re­sult of pub­lic pres­sure and reg­u­la­tions but be­cause it gives them a mar­ket ad­van­tage.

“If the pub­lic can be con­vinced that the ben­e­fits to the agri­cul­tural sec­tor can con­trib­ute to im­prov­ing the cur­rent en­vi­ron­men­tal chal­lenges as well as re­gional eco­nomic growth then the CPTPP can be seen not only as a win for global col­lab­o­ra­tion but a win for all New Zealan­ders.”

“They need to meet con­sumers de­mand for prod­ucts to be pro­duced eth­i­cally and sus­tain­ably.”

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