Monday, 20 April 2020

NZ's excellent trade response to Covid-19

In the Stuff newspapers this week, I laud New Zealand's maintained commitment to free trade in critical goods. 

Back in March, Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar signed on with NZ and Singapore to a statement endorsing keeping supply chains open and removing restrictive measures on essential goods.

Last week, Singapore and New Zealand fleshed out what that means for them, with a list of a pile of products that will be moving to tariff-free status. It's an open plurilateral agreement: any other country who wants to join is is free to sign up by agreeing to the what's in the agreement as written.

I really hope other countries join in.

A snippet:
As New Zealand increasingly and deservedly draws the international spotlight, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern could do well in asking other countries to sign on to the agreement her government has come to with Singapore.

Trump's response to the pandemic has looked far too much like the 1930 Republican Congress's response to the Great Depression: an insular knee-jerk protectionism that only makes things worse both for Americans, and for everyone else. It is a model of what not to do.

Ardern's government has been providing a vision of a better way. One that does not beggar its neighbours, and itself in the process.

It is a vision that should prove compelling beyond New Zealand and Singapore. Ardern should appeal for others to join us.

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