Doorstop interview with New Zealand Trade Minister, David Parker

  • Transcript, E&OE
Topics: Australia/New Zealand Closer Economic Relationship Trade Agreement; CPTPP.
06 February 2019

Simon Birmingham: I'd like to welcome my good friend DavidParker, the New Zealand Trade Minister to Adelaide, to Australia today andespecially to do so on Waitangi Day. So, happy Waitangi Day to David, and toall of our New Zealand friends involved.

This is areally important opportunity for Australia and New Zealand to continue todiscuss our close cooperation when it comes to trade matters. It's 36 yearssince the Australia New Zealand Closer Economic Relationship Trade Agreementcame into force. Thirty years since we extended that to include servicesprotocol, and what we've seen is that the ties between our economies have onlygotten stronger and closer, over that time. And it does so to the benefit ofboth Australia and New Zealand.

Last year, wesaw two-way trade grow by more than seven percent. But importantly, that wasgrowth in exports of Australian goods to New Zealand, and of New Zealandexports to Australia. Both sides growing that exchange of trade,of goods andservices, creating more jobs and opportunities in both our countries. But evenmore critically, we're great mates and cooperate intensively on the worldstage. Yes, we're competitors in some products and goods but we're also closepartners in our belief in ensuring that we have open access to markets that thetrading rules established across the globe through the World TradeOrganisation, work effectively.

We'vecollaborated closely to bring the CPTPP into force, the Comprehensive andProgressive Trans-Pacific Partnership, part of the first six countries to bringthat into force, part of eleven overall to agree on it. And wanting to workclosely to ensure that this landmark agreement, which is such a great examplefor the rest of the world, is indeed copied and translated into other tradeagreements of a similar, high standard and quality elsewhere.

We workclosely together at the World Trade Organisation to modernise, to ensure itsrules are enforced, to try to progress other issues such as e-commerce reform,effective action on (indistinct) subsidies around the world. These are allimportant issues and today the challenge for us is to enhance thatcollaboration and to take what is the closest partnership that we can have andmake sure that is just as strong or even stronger into the future. David, wouldyou like to say a few words?

DavidParker: It'sgreat to be in Adelaide, I'm quite pleased it's not 48 and half degrees today,but warmer than where I left. As Simon said, New Zealand and Australia are twoof the most fair trading nations in the world, unfortunately, we both suffermore discrimination than a lot of other countries. We work together to improveinternational law reform relating to trade, to the advantage of our citizens sothat we can get more paying jobs, to sustain the lifestyles that we enjoy bothin Australia and New Zealand.

Journalist: What are some of theways that both nations are benefitting now with this latest agreement between Australiaand New Zealand?

David Parker: Well the latestchange in our trading relationship doesn't actually effect trading between NewZealand and Australia, it was already very free and fair. But its improved ouraccess into other markets like Mexico, Japan and Canada, through the G20countries which both Australia and New Zealand previously suffereddiscrimination compared with other countries. And it improves our access intoall of those markets and it means everyone from the farm, to the farmer, to theprocessor, and the factories will benefit from keeping more of the money thatis paid by the consumers of those other countries (indistinct).

Journalist: Has there been anydiscussions or will there be any discussions today around theongoing Brexit negotiations and the best way out of that for both nations?

SimonBirmingham: Certainly from Australia's perspective we keep monitoring Brexit closely. We ofcourse are open to start free trade agreement discussions with the UK themoment they are in a position to do so. We do encourage, to give as muchcertainty to everybody as they possibly can. In both our cases we have soughtto ensure that agreements we currently have with the EU are replicated into theUK and should there be a hard Brexit underneath, the guarantee date(indistinct) then we do want to see some certainty for all of our businesses,investors who are operating in the UK and I imagine that this is something weare at one in terms of our messaging to the UK government on. Certainly thelast time I was in the UK, a couple of weeks ago, Prime Minister Ardern wasthere at the same time and I think we were both relaying very similar messagesof hope for certainty, stability, and a smooth transition.

DavidParker: We agree, we've already got transitional agreements around (indistinct) so wecan minimise the disruption to our exporters.

SimonBirmingham: Thank you.

Media enquiries