International Trade Daily™ provides rapid, reliable notification of the most significant developments affecting U.S. trade and international business policy, as well as the policies of major U.S....
June 13 — Asia-Pacific trade talks taking place in Auckland this week offer an important opportunity to shape regional trading rules, according to New Zealand's top trade official.
Like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)—which includes China—would help determine the way countries in the region do business with each other, New Zealand Trade Minister Todd McClay told Bloomberg BNA during a June 10 telephone interview.
McClay also said he is confident that U.S. politicians are weighing their country's role in the evolution of regional trade links as they decide whether to ratify the TPP, adding that he's “very confident” the U.S. will ratify the deal.
“Certainly TPP allows all 12 countries to sit around the table and help shape the rules that will decide trade in the Asia-Pacific [region] going forward,” he said.
“RCEP provides an opportunity to also think about these regional rules,” said McClay, whose government is hosting the latest negotiating round June 12-18 for RCEP, a trade alliance that includes China, but not the U.S. Other RCEP participants comprise India, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and the 10 economies in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The agreement represents 3 billion people in 16 countries.
“I know some of our friends and colleagues in the U.S. are considering their place in that,” he said.
McClay said the absence of the U.S. and presence of China in RCEP talks hasn't presented any unique difficulties or opportunities.
“New Zealand has a very good and friendly relationship with both China and the U.S., and from a trade point of view both countries are very important to us,” he said, noting that New Zealand had been the first to negotiate a free trade agreement with China.
“I don't think that because one is in or one is out it creates greater opportunity or advantage, or poses any challenge,” he said. “We will continue to work through the RCEP negotiations with all of the countries involved.”
McClay said the TPP agreement had allowed RCEP economies “to contemplate what's possible” in trade talks.
“What I take from the considerable achievement of the TPP is that where a group of countries work hard together and focus on meaningful liberalization, … economies can and do grow,” he said.
Despite the overlap between RCEP and TPP participants, there are differences in their stages of development and integration, he said.
Consequently, “it's not just a matter of saying: `Well here is TPP let's adopt everything in it,’ ” he said.
As for his take on whether the U.S. is likely to approve the TPP, McClay said, “I am very confident that the U.S. will ratify the TPP, but they are going to have to take their time and work out the best time to do that.”
McClay indicated that, despite “good progress,” the RCEP negotiations might not be completed by the end of the year, as leaders had hoped.
The end-of-year time frame “is certainly something we are all working to,” he said. “Whether that is possible or feasible or not we will have to see.”
New Zealand, for one, won't be willing to sacrifice quality for speed. “We should continue to focus on the timing our leaders have set, but quality is more important than timing,” McClay said.
Various countries will be making offers on goods at the Auckland talks. “It will be important to work through those,” he said.
“A number of the offers will be of the quality that is desirable, others may need some work. There will be some who continue to need to consider their offers.”
RCEP negotiations were formally launched in November 2012 at the ASEAN Summit in Cambodia.
To contact the reporter responsible for this story: Murray Griffin in Melbourne at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jerome Ashton at firstname.lastname@example.org
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)