TPPA protest not holding this government back: hard at work for an EU Free Trade Agreement

Todd McClay is making waves…moving at initiating a free trade agreement with the EU.

A free trade agreement with the European Union would be of particular benefit to small and medium enterprises, Trade Minister Todd McClay said today from Brussels where he has been holding meetings about future negotiations with the EU.

He also indicated he would place an emphasis on “stakeholder consultation,” known to be of high importance to EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom as she tries to win support for the FTA the EU is negotiating with the United States (the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTiP).

Mr McClay had several hours of private discussion with Ms Malmstrom in Nairobi last December at a World Trade Organisation ministerial meeting, including about her consultation with civil society.

Mr McClay met her again in Brussels this week along with EU vice-president Jykri Katainen to progress an in-principle agreement to start talks.

Later he said they all agreed that “an EU-New Zealand FTA would bring mutual benefit to our economies.”   

“A high quality deal would bring benefits for citizens and SMEs and help to drive innovation and productivity.”

After lobbying by groups such as EuroChambres , the EU now includes SME chapters in all its trade deals.

That should be no problem for New Zealand; the Trans Pacific Partnership has a standalone chapter on SMEs.

Eurochambres, an umbrella organisation covering 45 countries, 1700 local chambers and 20 million companies, last year gave its blessing to the EU beginning talks with New Zealand and Australia, respectively.

Director for international affairs Dirk Vantyghem said it did so on the basis that there was strong focus on the needs of SMEs to get more of them trading internationally.

He told the Herald in a recent interview that the sorts of measures being negotiated in the TTiP should be the benchmark for future deals, such as one with New Zealand,

That included not just negotiating a deal but developing tools to make sure SMEs could benefit from it.

Trade benefits everyone and is the reason why poverty has been reduced worldwide.

The only people not happy are those, like Labour, who want us to live behind protectionism in an isolationist paradise where we all end up cutting each other’s hair to get by.

 

– NZ Herald


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