Renegotiation of China agreement coincides with Trump TPPA drop

EDITORIAL

Donald Trump's announcement that he will drop the TPP agreement on his first day in office already appears to be leaving its mark on this country, but it will have much wider implications for the greater Asia-Pacific area.

New Zealand and China announced at the APEC leaders’ conference in Peru that they had agreed to renegotiate the historic free trade agreement between the two countries.

Top of the list on the negotiations will be the so-called dairy safeguards, the quotas which limit the amount of dairy products that can go into China duty free.

Prime Minister John Key says the renegotiation is much bigger than that and will include forestry and a range of other products.

The stakes for this country are high. Our trade with China has tripled from $8.2 billion in the year ended June 2007 before the trade agreement was signed to $23 billion in the June 2016 year.

It is probably a coincidence that the two announcements have come at the same time but it does show that this country needs to reassess its priorities.

That need is magnified tenfold for the Asian countries in the 12 nations that are in the TPPA.

They are already nervous about what Trump will do and whether he will actually continue with the isolationist America First theme of his successful campaign.

The TPPA was a key part of Barack Obama’s “pivot to Asia” and his assurance that the US intended to be a key player in the region.

Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong says America’s reputation in Asia is “on the line”. Philippines controversial President Rodrigo Duterte has already moved to distance himself by closing long-established US bases in that country.

Commentators are saying that Trump’s announcement is good news for China which can argue it is a genuine Asia Pacific power and will not be leaving the area while the US cannot be trusted.

Where all this leaves New Zealand is still to be determined but it is going to be a nervous and demanding time for our diplomats in the near future.

Donald Trump's announcement that he will drop the TPP agreement on his first day in office already appears to be leaving its mark on this country, but it will have much wider implications for the greater Asia-Pacific area.

New Zealand and China announced at the APEC leaders’ conference in Peru that they had agreed to renegotiate the historic free trade agreement between the two countries.

Top of the list on the negotiations will be the so-called dairy safeguards, the quotas which limit the amount of dairy products that can go into China duty free.

Prime Minister John Key says the renegotiation is much bigger than that and will include forestry and a range of other products.

The stakes for this country are high. Our trade with China has tripled from $8.2 billion in the year ended June 2007 before the trade agreement was signed to $23 billion in the June 2016 year.

It is probably a coincidence that the two announcements have come at the same time but it does show that this country needs to reassess its priorities.

That need is magnified tenfold for the Asian countries in the 12 nations that are in the TPPA.

They are already nervous about what Trump will do and whether he will actually continue with the isolationist America First theme of his successful campaign.

The TPPA was a key part of Barack Obama’s “pivot to Asia” and his assurance that the US intended to be a key player in the region.

Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong says America’s reputation in Asia is “on the line”. Philippines controversial President Rodrigo Duterte has already moved to distance himself by closing long-established US bases in that country.

Commentators are saying that Trump’s announcement is good news for China which can argue it is a genuine Asia Pacific power and will not be leaving the area while the US cannot be trusted.

Where all this leaves New Zealand is still to be determined but it is going to be a nervous and demanding time for our diplomats in the near future.

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