Trade for All will help ensure that our trade policy delivers for all New Zealanders.

Overview

Trade for All is a chance to take a fresh look at New Zealand’s trade policy. It’s the opportunity to consider trade policy in general, what we are currently doing, and making sure that it delivers for all New Zealanders.

Trade is a critical part of New Zealand’s economy. We want our policies to help all New Zealanders benefit from trade. That’s why from August to October 2018 the Government consulted widely with New Zealanders to hear their views and develop a Trade for All policy. 

One of the outcomes from this consultation process was the establishment of a Trade for All Advisory Board. The Board’s objective was to provide the Government with an independent report, identifying and discussing key issues, with recommendations on our trade policy.

The Minister for Trade and Export Growth released the report of the Trade for All Advisory Board in November 2019. It is available on the Trade for All Advisory Board website. (external link) If you have views on the report, particularly how the Government should respond to the report’s recommendations, please send us your feedback.

Trade for All will help ensure that our trade policy delivers for all New Zealanders, 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.

Background

The global trade environment is increasingly turbulent.

Domestically, public concern around globalisation has grown. There are reservations about the balance in trade agreements between market access for exporters and concerns over potential loss of sovereignty and the perception that globalisation is exacerbating environmental problems and increasing inequality.  There are questions about who benefits from trade and the long-term sustainability of our economic development.

The Trade for All agenda responds to these concerns, seeking to rebuild public consensus around New Zealand’s trade policy while successfully navigating the turbulent global environment to advance and protect our trade interests.  Central to this process has been a wide ranging public consultation process including dedicated consultation with Māori, as the Crown’s treaty partner, and a set of recommendations from an independent Trade for All Advisory Board.   

What is trade policy?

We asked New Zealanders how our country should approach international trade - exports and imports - and the rules and disciplines around this. Discussion included 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 did we ask?

We took a step back from looking at any individual trade agreement and instead considered trade policy in general, what we are currently doing, and what’s best for New Zealand. We wanted to hear New Zealanders’ views on how trade policy can contribute to sustainable, progressive and inclusive economic development for the benefit of all of us.

Cabinet 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), we asked New Zealanders to consider 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 benefit from opportunities to do business globally, including women, Māori and people in small and medium sized enterprises.

Trade for All key principles

The consultations explored support for the key principles approved by Cabinet:

  • An open 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 such as 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.

Feedback from public consultation

We consulted with New Zealanders on how our country should approach trade.

The Trade for All public consultation phase ran between 6 August and 14 October 2018. It included written feedback as well as face-to-face engagement around New Zealand through 15 meetings for the public and 11 hui focusing on Māori.

Read the summary of feedback

A summary of feedback received, produced by independent research organisation PublicVoice, is avaliable here [PDF, 1.6 MB].

Read the written submissions

Written submissions, which we have been granted permission to publish, are available here [ZIP, 38 MB]

Trade for all Advisory Board

The Trade for All Advisory Board was appointed to provide the Government with an independent report with recommendations on our trade policy. They drew on the feedback from the consultation process and worked on identifying and discussing key issues and developing recommendations for we achieve this.

The Board’s report and recommendations were completed and released in November 2019. You can read the Minister’s media release here.

What happens now?

 The Government is currently developing its response to the Trade for All Advisory Board report. The response is due by the end of March 2020. 

Have your say

We welcome your views on the report, particularly how the Government should respond to the report’s recommendations. This feedback will inform the Government’s response to the report.

Email us at tradeforall@mfat.govt.nz by 5pm on 28 January 2020.

Please note that unless you advise otherwise, your feedback may be published online or publicly released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Your contact details will not become publicly available if feedback is published. 

Resources

A summary of Cabinet papers, press releases and key public consultation documents are:

Cabinet papers 

Press releases 

Key public consultation documents

These discussion documents were available during the public consultation phase.