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Take Tariffs Off Now!

New Zealand farmers welcome the announcement of the beginning of the end to the tariff freeze policy says the President of Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc), Tom Lambie.

“This process is a fundamental part of trade liberalisation and the Federation is pleased to see it restart, but it needs to go further than announced today. New Zealand should end its tariff regime immediately. This timid approach is short-sighted.

“The good news is that the Government's announcement means that entrepreneurs will now be able to make planning and investment decisions with greater certainty.

“Reducing tariff levels in the past has proven to benefit all New Zealand. The remaining tariffs are unnecessary, increasing the costs of everyday items for ordinary New Zealanders. Those who are on low incomes will benefit more from cheaper clothes and shoes.

“The gradual ‘tit for tat' approach to reducing tariffs in negotiation with our trading partners is pointless and not in New Zealand's interests. The unilateral removal of tariffs makes economic sense, regardless of what other countries do.

“The Government is to be congratulated for today's restart but it must commit to the removal of all remaining tariffs. It is time to firmly walk away from outdated protectionist measures and throw all energies into promoting trade liberalisation in a reinvigorated Doha round and at the APEC Leader's meeting in Thailand” Mr Lambie concluded.

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