Agricultural TradeTuesday, Mar 25, 2003
Wide ranging perceptions and position taking of the success or failure of the first few day of the Iraqi war gives an early indication that NZ will be marketing into a changed international environment post the war.
This new war has been badly timed from the perspective of a new round of international trade negotiations – aggressive position taking and intemperate discussion appears to now be the new standard for international relations.
News today of a survey showing that rural USA is accepting that there may be some sequenced inclusion of WTO agricultural trade agreements into the new order of International trade and as a consequence they have identified an opportunity for better farm returns from increased US agricultural exports. It could be that the US government may see lower farm subsidies in exchange for improved international export conditions for US farm goods as a very satisfactory trade.
Other players are indicating their intentions – Canada talks of plans to increase beef sales to Korea and Japan. Brazil plans to sell increase quantities of beef to anyone. Australia is holding its breath in the hope of defining a comfortable AUS – USA Free Trade agreement to enable it to bank the benefits of its support of US policy in the Middle East
These few early indications of plans by our market competitors have the potential to crowd NZ out of the higher paying international markets that remain available.
Even more disturbing is the possibility that due to the consequences of this current war permanently fracturing future cooperation between USA and Europe there is a potential for NZ’s long term quota arrangements facing modification or termination as US, UK, Europe Russia, and China sort out new relationships as they seek to reward themselves if there are any spoils to be gained from this current war.
The feeling that NZ is being further sidelined from the international arena grows stronger as this highly charged period evolves. Are our leaders smugly clutching to their outdated, self-indulgent hippy principles or do they really have a plan that husbands the resources and associations of the country in the interests of all its citizens.