“Trade for All” in the EU NZ FTA Offers No New Direction


As negotiations begin on the first free trade agreement that this Government has not inherited from National, Trade Minister David Parker will count his blessings that he can share the stage with the seemingly benign European Union.

Both sides will headline their commitment to “Trade for All” – a slogan the Labour Government has borrowed from the Europeans to brand its purportedly new inclusive and progressive trade agenda.

Behind the rhetoric, very little has changed.

We can expect clip-on chapters that promise to help women, indigenous peoples, workers and small and medium enterprises to prosper through trade, alongside cooperation on climate change and sustainability.

But the trade rules that generate inequalities, favour the wealthiest transnational corporations, threaten jobs, consume fossil fuels and destroy the environment will remain unchanged.

Critics of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) will welcome statements that it is off the table, but that is not because of our government’s new stance.

The Europeans have jettisoned the highly unpopular ISDS because the European Court of Justice struck it down for agreements between EU Member States and a decision is pending in a challenge to a modified Investment Court System in the Canada EU agreement.

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

Labour’s much-vaunted abandoning of ISDS has so far produced ineffectual side-letters in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and an exemption for Singapore from the new restrictions on foreign purchases of residential housing to avoid violating our FTA with them.

At the last round the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations which I attended in Singapore it was clear that more side-letters were about the best New Zealand could hope for there.

I urge the coalition parties in government to deliver the genuine change in the model of trade agreements that they promised before the election.

To date the promised review of trade strategy has involved outreach or information-sharing sessions on negotiations already underway, within the anti-democratic shroud of secrecy that shields the negotiations from scrutiny. There is no tangible evidence that the government intends to do anything significantly different.

Our patience has run out.

Plans are underway to launch an independent process for developing a genuinely progressive trade policy to coincide with New Zealand’s hosting of an RCEP negotiating round in late October.


  1. You are against ANY form of FTA with any country anywhere…never mind that NZ is an Island nation in Tue middle of nowhere and NEED international trade to keep afloat and keep jobs and commerce running, as a Professor Jane you just accepted a $700k grant from the NZ Govt (Nat Govt) so you don’t care about jibs via trade as ‘I’m all right jack’ and have a big grant to sustain me…pffft hypocrite!

  2. As far as I’m aware the Canada-EU agreement has not yet been fully implemented as it has not yet been ratified by national legislatures. Italy has expressed reservations about ratifying it. The proposed EU-NZ free trade deal is simply a pie in the sky propaganda exercise by our delusional government which refuses to see the writing on the wall. The dis-united states of Europe will never become a unified entity. England has already flown the coop, & the emerging nationalistic block within the EU is vehemently opposed to the centralist machinations of the eurocrats in Brussels. It is only Bonaparte Macron, Germany’s mama Merkel & few sidekicks like the Netherlands that are desperately struggling to keep the EU project (the Holy Roman empire – fourth Reich) on track. Mark my words, within 10 years the EU & the USA will go the way of the former USSR. No need to worry, have a cup of tea & a lie down.

  3. The EU has largely ignored NZ as a trading partner for over 40 years – so why the sudden interest? I believe that the current discussions are designed to maliciously preempt a trade agreement with the UK who have naively assumed that FTAs with NZ and Australia will somehow substitute for lost market opportunities in the EU. Furthermore, I can’t think of any UK products or services that NZ would be interested in trading.

    • It’s a fire sale inside the EU. Every ones been lined up for bargains for ages. All sorts, there’s some really brilliant scientists floating around, some maybe interested in IP, some might be interested in having sovereign debt forgiven. Others may be interested in offering fire (finance, insurance, realestate, equities) insurance. It’s the modern day woolly mammoth and we’re the hunters.

    • @Southern man.

      “The EU has largely ignored NZ as a trading partner for over 40 years – so why the sudden interest? “

      You do read, correct? You got one thing right. ” I can’t think…”
      Could it be because NZ/AO was known colloquially as the ‘ market garden’ of Europe, at one time?? And who fucked that up?
      And who made billions from the fuck up that was designed to fuck things up for a dollar?
      What do we have? Us humans? What do we have…?
      Yes. That’s correct. We have a mouth hole at one end, and an arsehole at the other end. If the mouth hole stops receiving foods the arsehole becomes redundant. And as we all know…, if you don’t shit? You die.

      52 thousand poor, hapless bastards work to make, to sell, stuff and things from which we make $-returns on those endevours. ( I hope I come across as patronising because by fuck, I’m in the mood for it. )

      Dear Prof’ Jane. I think you’re wonderful. I really do. But the forest? It’s behind all those trees.

  4. Think it fair to observe that it is not only the coalition that is unwilling to take the risks that such a change would involve, it is aware that the overwhelming majority of the electorate would quickly demonstrate that they are unprepared to as well… and so the action will not match the rhetoric, as largely expected…such is democracy.

Comments are closed.