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Greens warn against China FTA

TVNZ, New Zealand

Greens warn against China FTA

28 March 2008

The Greens are citing past experience as a warning against the upcoming free trade deal with China.

The party has dug out the balance of trade figures covering New Zealand’s record with Thailand and Singapore since preferential trade deals were signed with both countries.

Since the Thailand deal was struck in 2005, NZ exports have increased but there remains a trade deficit of over a billion dollars. And for Singapore, where a deal was signed in 2001, our trade deficit has increased from around $220 million to over $1.4 billion.

Green co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons believes the same pattern and problem will be repeated with the China FTA.

The Government says it is impossible to promise a free trade deal with China will improve the current trade deficit.

Trade Minister Phil Goff says it’s impossible to give a simplistic answer but because NZ firms pay significant tariffs to get goods into China, their removal under an FTA works in New Zealand’s favour.

He says it’s important to note that as a result of trade deals with Thailand and Singapore, our exports to those countries have increased significantly.