Agriculture and Free Trade agreementsThursday, Jan 11, 2001
Free trade agreements seem to be a priority for this government and for many of our trading partners.
What is increasingly evident is the difficulty that the negotiators have in fitting agricultural
trade into the model that is satisfactory for industrial goods. Even Australia after twenty-five
years still has a problem. Hence the apple/fire blight pantomime being played out by Australia.
It is a concern that free trade agreements may be reached by putting agricultural trade to the side
to be resolved in the future. But as has happened in the past agriculture never looses the sensitive
nature of its implications to each countries economy and remains perpetually in limbo.
Our politicians should stiffen their resolve and press for all or nothing agreements. Otherwise NZ will
remain the victim of a dual economy – an urban hope of more jobs and a rural hope of more
wealth – both vain hopes under our current approach to trade agreements.