NZ growers await TPP plans this month
With the New Zealand Government expected to reveal more details of its Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) demands this month, growers will be watching how the proposed multi-lateral agreements could affect horticulture.
Export NZ executive director Catherine Beard told www.freshfruitportal.com it was still too early to tell how negotiations would affect different sectors, as they hadn't yet got down to the 'nitty gritty'.
"From what I’m observing most of the negotiations are revolving around the United States. When the United States put their bottom line on the table everyone else will show their hands," she says.
Beard cites horticulture as significant from New Zealand's perspective, while that's also where the barriers are.
"Our minister (Tim) Groser has emphasized many times that the Trans-Pacific Partnership needs to be a high quality fair trade agreement. Our definition of high quality is that you don’t compromise on things that are important to your economy."
While speculation continues over whether Zespri's single desk platform could stifle negotiations, Beard says the situation is not unique.
"Its not just Zespri that has those circumstances, there's also Fonterra. All the critiques that come about single desk come from the U.S., that's concern about competition so you’re always going to hear noise about that sort of thing.
"The government will have to weigh up benefits and costs of every deal."
New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc chief executive Mike Chapman, says his organisation is not worried about the single desk system being a problem at all.
"The World Trade Organisation has said that is legal so it's all OK," he says.
Chapman said he was working hard to put more money back into the pockets of growers and was optimistic about the deal.
"Tariffs are scheduled to reduce for us all so we’re looking forward to it.”
Pipfruit New Zealand chairman Ian Palmer says the free trade negotiations are less on the radar for his growers as they already enjoy unrestricted trade.
"For us in apples it does not have a lot of affect as we have access as we have had access for 50 years. We do have sanitary requirements that we have to follow however," he says.
"In our view all free trade agreements are good but this one is less applicable to us."
The negotiations include the nine countries of Chile, Australia, Brunei, the U.S., Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, with aggregated GDPs totalling US$16 trillion dollars.