A fair playing field: our submission on the Trade for All report

Trade plays a critical role in the New Zealand economy. For the benefits to flow through to all New Zealanders, it should be a two way journey – both exporting our goods to the world and importing what is produced from elsewhere.

We’re concerned the balance is out of whack for New Zealand with much of the dialogue on trade geared to New Zealand’s need to export to the world with little consideration given to the impact of imports on the local economy and society.

This is reflected in the Trade for All Advisory Board’s recommendations to the Minister for Trade and Export Growth on the Government’s Trade for All agenda released late 2019.

In the Metals New Zealand submission to trade for all report final we highlight our concerns around the report’s scant reference to imports and specifically the impact of subsidised and dumped imports on the New Zealand economy, our local manufacturers, our built environment and overloaded landfills.

This is evidenced in fact that the word “export” appearing over 200 times in the report, while “import” appears only 11 times.

So why does this matter? The fact is that New Zealand has productivity challenge. Economic growth over the last decade has largely been in commodities, employment growth has been in low value jobs in tourism and primary production and our local manufacturing sector, which traditionally provided high value jobs in our regions, has declined.

To achieve the Government’s economic priorities and transition from volume to value, requires not just a vibrant export sector, but an equally vibrant local manufacturing sector, particularly in our regions.

We support the Government’s intent to develop a progressive and inclusive “trade for all” agenda, but the policy settings need to be equally focused on imports and opportunities to grow rather than undermine local manufacturing.

Download the submission here Metals New Zealand submission to trade for all report final