Trade for All will help ensure that our trade policy delivers for all New Zealanders, whoever and wherever they are.

Have your say

Thank you to all the New Zealanders who shared their views during our Trade for All consultation. We're going to work through the feedback and come back to you soon with what we've heard.

A trading nation

New Zealand is a trading nation and we always will be. Trade is a critical part of our economy, with some 620,000 New Zealand jobs dependent on the exports we send out to the world.

Imports are also important to maintain our standard of living and provide options for New Zealanders from goods such as cellphones to online streaming services. Our small size and remoteness means we need access to markets in other countries – not just for goods, services and investments, but also for people and ideas. 

We want our policies to help all New Zealanders benefit from trade. That’s why the Government consulted with New Zealanders to develop a “Trade for All” policy. 

Trade for All will help ensure that our trade policy delivers for all New Zealanders, whoever and wherever they are, and contributes to addressing global and regional issues of concern, such as environmental issues and labour standards.  Our goal is a trade policy that works alongside other government policies, to support sustainable and inclusive economic development.

What is trade policy?

We've been talking to New Zealanders and asking them about how our country should approach trade - exports and imports and the rules and disciplines around these. This includes our involvement in the World Trade Organisation, our negotiation and implementation of free trade agreements, and the interaction between trade and domestic economic policy.

What matters most to you?

Trade for All is a chance to take a fresh look at trade policy. We're taking a step back from looking at any individual trade agreement and instead consider trade policy in general, what we are currently doing, and what’s best for New Zealand.

Cabinet has agreed to some key principles on Trade for All to get the conversation started around the future direction of trade policy for New Zealand. In line with these key principles (see below for the full list of key principles approved by Cabinet), part of what we've been asking New Zealanders to consider is how trade can support:

  • sustainable economic development that takes into account the impact on the environment we work and live in; and
  • inclusive economic development that supports all New Zealanders in all regions of New Zealand to succeed on the global stage, including women, Māori and people in small and medium sized enterprises.

Trade for All Key Principles

The consultations have explored support for the Key Principles approved by Cabinet:

• The creation of a genuine conversation with the public and key stakeholders around the future direction of New Zealand’s trade policy; this will include consultation with Māori, consistent with their role as a Treaty partner;

• A focus on creating new and more sustainable economic opportunities for New Zealanders of all incomes and backgrounds;

• Support for the international rules-based system and New Zealand’s contribution to its modernisation;

• Support for multilateral negotiations as a first-best option for New Zealand, followed by open plurilateral negotiations;

• Enhancing  New Zealand’s economic integration with the Asia-Pacific region, and economic connections to other regions, including through regional and bilateral FTAs;

• Support for trade policy to contribute to maximising the opportunities and minimising the risks associated with global issues, including:

  • Environmental issues including climate change
  • Protecting New Zealanders’ health and wellbeing
  • Labour rights
  • Gender equity
  • The rights of indigenous peoples
  • SME participation in international markets
  • Inclusive regional economic growth, poverty reduction and sustainable job creation
  • Protecting traditional knowledge
  • Preserving the right of governments to regulate in the public interest, including for national land markets, taxation of multinational businesses and public services

• The development of specific directives for future trade policies and negotiations to operationalise Trade for All.

What happens next?

Trade for All is about hearing a range of views from New Zealanders on how our trade policy can benefit all of us. The Trade for All Advisory Board will soon start work on identifying and discussing key issues for how we achieve this.

Collated feedback from the consultations process will be provided to the Trade for All Advisory Board to inform their own discussions. Members of the Advisory Board are still to be confirmed, but they will be New Zealanders with a wide range of views, knowledge and experience.

The Board will be chaired by trade expert David Pine who brings extensive experience in the public and private sectors. Feedback from New Zealanders, along with the Trade for All Advisory Board’s recommendations, will inform the development of Trade for All by June 2019.


Cabinet papers and press releases

Key documents