New Zealand is negotiating a trade agreement with the Pacific Alliance (Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru). We want to hear your views on progressive and inclusive trade in the agreement.

Progressive and inclusive trade agreements can complement domestic and international initiatives to help tackle economic, social, and environmental issues. We can highlight the importance we place on a range of issues, such as labour and environmental standards, addressing climate change, gender and indigenous issues, and growing the involvement of small- and medium-sized enterprises and our regions in trade.

Taking a progressive and inclusive approach in our trade agreements provides opportunities to make joint commitments with our negotiating partners, and to explore avenues for international cooperation to achieve shared goals.

Over the course of 2018, the Government will be consulting more with New Zealanders on the shape of our trade policy, and how it can better promote sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

But in the meantime we are progressing negotiations with the Pacific Alliance (Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru) and want to conclude a comprehensive, high quality agreement as soon as possible this year. So we are seeking early input and views from New Zealanders on how progressive trade issues could be advanced with our Pacific Alliance partners. Some initial areas of focus are suggested below, alongside some ideas and questions as a guide. Submitters are welcome to put forward other ideas.

Public submissions are due by Monday 16 April 2018.

Please contact us at PacificAllianceFTA@mfat.govt.nz if you have any questions or would like to meet with the negotiating team.

Labour

Workers have fundamental rights that are already enshrined in international law. These include the rights of freedom of association and to collectively bargain, as well as rights against discrimination and forced and child labour. Given that the goods and services traded between countries are the product of labour, it is important that labour standards in each country, and their application, reflect these principles and rights. Labour standards should also not be undermined to create unfair advantages or be used for trade protectionist purposes.

  • How should labour rights be dealt with in a trade and investment agreement with the Pacific Alliance?
  • What international agreements on labour rights could be relevant in a trade and investment agreement with the Pacific Alliance?
  • What other types of joint commitments on trade and labour issues could New Zealand and the Pacific Alliance consider making?
  • What issues would be most useful to cooperate with the Pacific Alliance on?
  • What type of mechanisms could be used to discuss trade and labour issues with the Pacific Alliance countries?

Environment and climate change

The Government is committed to improving the environment we live in, and to addressing climate change, including through becoming a net zero emission economy by 2050. We expect this will bring trade opportunities, and we want to encourage and incentivise innovation and economic activity to deliver a clean, green New Zealand. Trade agreements can play a role in promoting sustainable development and help generate positive environmental change. Recent New Zealand agreements have been ground-breaking in their environmental outcomes, such as eliminating harmful fisheries subsidies that contribute to overfishing, removing trade barriers on products and services that are environmentally friendly. Other areas of interest include climate change, biodiversity, conservation, private standards, circular economy, and fundamental obligations that ensure environmental laws are not weakened for trade or investment purposes.

  • How could a free trade agreement with the Pacific Alliance best reflect New Zealand’s environment and climate change objectives, and make best use of New Zealand’s strengths and competitive advantages?
  • What international agreements on environmental standards and issues could be relevant to trade and investment with the Pacific Alliance?
  • What environment, climate change and trade issues would be most useful to cooperate with the Pacific Alliance on?
  • What specific environment policies and issues are of interest or concern and could be addressed by the chapter?
  • What other types of joint commitments on environment issues could New Zealand and the Pacific Alliance consider making?
  • What type of mechanisms could be used to discuss trade and environment issues with the Pacific Alliance countries?

Gender

Trade and productive investment are drivers of economic growth and higher living standards. Improving women’s access to the opportunities presented by trade and investment and removing barriers to participation is an important part of ensuring that the benefits of trade are accessible to all.

  • What particular issues do you see at the intersection of trade and gender?
  • What international agreements and declarations on gender-related issues could be relevant to trade and investment with the Pacific Alliance?
  • What are the key barriers to women’s involvement in the international trade and investment, as producers, consumers, and workers? And what role can trade agreements play in addressing these?
  • What type of cooperation activities could the countries focus on to enhance women’s involvement in trade and investment?
  • What type of mechanisms could be used to discuss cooperation activities with the Pacific Alliance countries?

Indigenous issues

Trade and productive investment are central to Māori economic development and prosperity. All New Zealand free trade agreements since 2001 include an exception that preserves the pre-eminence of the Treaty of Waitangi in New Zealand. Māori exporters also benefit from the market access and opportunities our trade agreements open up. These outcomes will be central to a New Zealand-Pacific Alliance FTA too. But to ensure that trade is inclusive, we want to consider how other Māori interests could be reflected and given particular attention and how trade agreements can support cooperation with indigenous peoples in other countries. New Zealand has positive experience in this area through our agreement with Chinese Taipei (external link), which includes a framework for indigenous cooperation.

  • What international agreements and declarations on indigenous issues could be relevant to trade and investment with the Pacific Alliance?
  • What type of cooperation activities could we focus on in order to grow Māori business links with Pacific Alliance countries and their indigenous businesses? What other cooperation activities could be considered?
  • What are the key barriers to Māori business involvement in trade with Pacific Alliance countries?
  • What type of mechanism could be used to develop links and discuss cooperation between indigenous peoples, and with what kind of representation from Māori and Government?
  • Māori interests extend across the Agreement. How should these be reflected in the other issue areas listed on this page: labour, environment and climate change, SMEs, gender, regional economic development, or the trade agreement more broadly?

Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs)

Due to their size, most New Zealand businesses are considered SMEs. Their ability to grow and become more productive, including through trade and opportunities created by free trade agreements, is central to New Zealand’s prosperity.

  • In what ways could this agreement improve SMEs’ access to international markets?
  • What information on each country’s business environment could be made available that would improve the ease of doing business?
  • How can we best inform New Zealand SMEs about the opportunities available through trade agreements? What types of mechanisms could be used to achieve this?
  • How can we best support SMEs to take advantage of this agreement?

Regional economic development

The Government is committed to investing in the productivity and potential of our regions to advance the prosperity of all New Zealanders. We know that regions are significant contributors to New Zealand’s export strengths. More fundamentally though, regional development is important for our overall economic development, and underlines why it is important to consider how we can better connect regional New Zealand to the trade and investment opportunities created through trade agreements.

  • How should trade agreements reflect the specific needs of regions?

  • How can trade agreements best complement our regional economic policy?

  • What types of cooperation activities could be useful for enhancing the involvement of regions and their businesses in international trade and investment?

  • What type of mechanisms could be used to discuss cooperation activities?