There has been much praise being heaped on the recently signed EU Free Trade Agreement. Is it worth all the effort that has been devoted to it over many years?
We think that is worth a closer look.
While NZ claims the deal will eventually allow its producers tariff free access for 97% of goods, we see that the EU retains the use of quotas for some NZ dairy products, beef and sheep meat, ethanol and sweetcorn. Apparently NZ will not be allowed to export more than 10000 tonnes or 0.15% amount of the beef the EU consumes tariff free. Further, for butter cheese and milk powder - NZ could only export 0.71%, 0.27% and 1.3% of the EU's total consumption before tariffs kicked in, thus making them more expensive against EU-produced goods.
What NZ is getting in return, seems little more than access to the EU's science and research programme as well as the international crime fighting organisation, Europol.
When asked what Australia should do if presented with a similar access to the single market the Chief Executive of the National Farmers Federation was blunt " We'd say walk away, thanks but no thanks. If it doesn't mean commercial dollars then we are not interested".
While the EU President hailed the NZ deal as "trailblazing" we wonder if it really is.
We note that the Australian deal has been deferred for further consideration later this year.
Will it get over the line? We wonder.
We think the Australian farmers make a good point to defer matters until some more even and obvious advantages are apparent.
We think far too much is made of these FTA's and unless there are clear business advantages, we would do better or be no worse off than to walk away.
We ask why are we not trying to conclude FTA's with Pacific countries like Fiji. PNG and New Caledonia?
Carting NZ goods around the world to the EU is hardly in the best interests of those trying to remediate climate change.