Bali trade agreement cuts red tape for NZ exporters

A new international trade agreement is good news for exporters whose products are held up at borders but will make little difference for consumers, experts say.

Trade Minister Tim Groser said the WTO Bali package approved by 159 ministers in Indonesia yesterday was a “modest deal” with limited direct benefits to New Zealand.

But the cost of failing to reach an agreement would have been “very significant” for international trade.

The talks mostly centred on food security, and the deal would enable developing countries to get around rules on farm subsidies if they were trying to stockpile food to feed their poor.

The most important progress for New Zealand businesses were changes which could cut red tape and ease bottlenecks at overseas ports.

NZ International Business Forum executive director Stephen Jacobi said effects of the deal would not be felt by consumers because New Zealand’s customs service was already very efficient.

But it could be valuable to exporters and manufacturers because it would speed clearance of their goods at foreign companies’ customs services.

New Zealand companies lost millions each year through exports being stalled at borders.

Mr Jacobi said: “Goods are being held up in customs every day, which adds quite significantly to the cost of the transaction. For countries like New Zealand that are distant from major markets, if you can narrow down time … then you’re going to have some greater efficiencies.”

New Zealand had streamlined customs agreements with the United States and Japan, but products were often held up in other countries, including China.

Mr Groser said the agreement did little to advance the main objectives of the Doha Development Round, which aimed to create a level playing field by removing subsidies on agriculture and other markets.

Wealthy countries such as the United States subsidised local agricultural production, which made it more difficult for other countries to break into their markets.

Labour trade spokesman Phil Goff said the agreement breathed life into the bigger negotiations the WTO was involved in.

It was the WTO’s first global trade agreement since its inception in 1995.

Read more by Isaac Davison, Source:, Image: Trade Minister Tim Groser. Photo / NZPA


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Translating Values from Proverbs

Proverbs can be an important indicator of cultural values as they often reflect the underlying attitudes and beliefs translated into the culture’s members, such as attitudes towards business ventures and business relationships. Making sincere attempts to understand and appreciate our own as well as other cultures’ proverbs can help us improve in our cultural interaction. Consider the following:

  • The bigger the hat, the smaller the property. (Australian)
  • Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you. (New Zealand – Maori)
  • Venture all; see what fate brings. (Vietnamese)
  • Where there are no tigers, a wildcat is very self-important. (Korean)
  • Call on God, but row away from the rocks. (Indian)
  • Don’t worry yourself about the fever before it arrives. (Thai)
  • Loyalty is more valuable than diamonds. (Filipino)
  • A crisis is an opportunity riding the dangerous wind. (Chinese)
  • If you enter a goat stable, bleat. if you enter a water buffalo stable, bellow. (Indonesian)
  • After victory, tighten your helmet cord. (Japanese)

Do you know more proverbs that reflect cultural values in business? Share them with us in the comment section below.

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP) Negotiation

The 14th Trans-Pacific Partnership has taken place in Leesburg, Virginia, on September 6th – 15th. Leaders of Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam have gathered there to deepen comprehensive market access, regional agreement, cross-cutting trade issues, and new trade issues.

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP) has been engaged in high-standard economic integration process with comprehensive duty-free access to members’ markets and new trade and investment rules.  Currently with nine team members, the Partnership has drawn strong attention and interests from other countries in Asia and Pacific region, in particular, Mexico and Canada.  The Partnership Negotiation has also actively attempted to address new issues in the trade arena, such as information technology, green growth and new technologies. TTP derived from Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement in 2007 with four members originally.

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