Topics: Australia/New Zealand Closer Economic Relationship Trade Agreement; CPTPP;
Simon Birmingham: I’d like to welcome my good friend David Parker, the New Zealand Trade Minister to Adelaide, to Australia today and especially to do so on Waitangi Day. So, happy Waitangi Day to David, and to all of our New Zealand friends involved.
This is a really important opportunity for Australia and New Zealand to continue to discuss our close cooperation when it comes to trade matters. It’s 36 years since the Australia New Zealand Closer Economic Relationship Trade Agreement came into force. Thirty years since we extended that to include services protocol, and what we’ve seen is that the ties between our economies have only gotten stronger and closer, over that time. And it does so to the benefit of both Australia and New Zealand.
Last year, we saw two-way trade grow by more than seven percent. But importantly, that was growth in exports of Australian goods to New Zealand, and of New Zealand exports to Australia. Both sides growing that exchange of trade,of goods and services, creating more jobs and opportunities in both our countries. But even more critically, we’re great mates and cooperate intensively on the world stage. Yes, we’re competitors in some products and goods but we’re also close partners in our belief in ensuring that we have open access to markets that the trading rules established across the globe through the World Trade Organisation, work effectively.
We’ve collaborated closely to bring the CPTPP into force, the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership, part of the first six countries to bring that into force, part of eleven overall to agree on it. And wanting to work closely to ensure that this landmark agreement, which is such a great example for the rest of the world, is indeed copied and translated into other trade agreements of a similar, high standard and quality elsewhere.
We work closely together at the World Trade Organisation to modernise, to ensure its rules are enforced, to try to progress other issues such as e-commerce reform, effective action on (indistinct) subsidies around the world. These are all important issues and today the challenge for us is to enhance that collaboration and to take what is the closest partnership that we can have and make sure that is just as strong or even stronger into the future. David, would you like to say a few words?
David Parker: It’s great to be in Adelaide, I’m quite pleased it’s not 48 and half degrees today, but warmer than where I left. As Simon said, New Zealand and Australia are two of the most fair trading nations in the world, unfortunately, we both suffer more discrimination than a lot of other countries. We work together to improve international law reform relating to trade, to the advantage of our citizens so that we can get more paying jobs, to sustain the lifestyles that we enjoy both in Australia and New Zealand.
Journalist: What are some of the ways that both nations are benefitting now with this latest agreement between Australia and New Zealand?
David Parker: Well the latest change in our trading relationship doesn’t actually effect trading between New Zealand and Australia, it was already very free and fair. But its improved our access into other markets like Mexico, Japan and Canada, through the G20 countries which both Australia and New Zealand previously suffered discrimination compared with other countries. And it improves our access into all of those markets and it means everyone from the farm, to the farmer, to the processor, and the factories will benefit from keeping more of the money that is paid by the consumers of those other countries (indistinct).
Journalist: Has there been any discussions or will there be any discussions today around the ongoing Brexit negotiations and the best way out of that for both nations?
Simon Birmingham: Certainly from Australia’s perspective we keep monitoring Brexit closely. We of course are open to start free trade agreement discussions with the UK the moment they are in a position to do so. We do encourage, to give as much certainty to everybody as they possibly can. In both our cases we have sought to ensure that agreements we currently have with the EU are replicated into the UK and should there be a hard Brexit underneath, the guarantee date (indistinct) then we do want to see some certainty for all of our businesses, investors who are operating in the UK and I imagine that this is something we are at one in terms of our messaging to the UK government on. Certainly the last time I was in the UK, a couple of weeks ago, Prime Minister Ardern was there at the same time and I think we were both relaying very similar messages of hope for certainty, stability, and a smooth transition.
David Parker: We agree, we’ve already got transitional agreements around (indistinct) so we can minimise the disruption to our exporters.
Simon Birmingham: Thank you.