New Zealand depends on international trade to sustain the standard of living that its people expect. Successive New Zealand Governments have been, and continue to be, strong supporters of an international trading system that is open and rules-based. New Zealand has entered into many trade agreements – through the World Trade Organisation (WTO), with groups of countries and with individual countries.
As the world’s economies have become more integrated, the nature of trade agreements have changed. In earlier times, their focus was on reducing tariffs on goods. Modern trade agreements deal with a much wider range of subjects, including services, investment, intellectual property and technical standards. They have also developed stronger mechanisms for resolving disputes.
The broadening and strengthening of trade agreements have had important impacts on countries’ domestic economies as well as their legal and regulatory settings. These impacts have been contested in New Zealand, and elsewhere, as part of a wider debate on the costs and benefits of globalisation.
The Government has established the Trade for All Advisory Board (TFAAB) to take a deep dive into New Zealand’s trade policy. It is a group of experienced leaders from a range of backgrounds in civil society and business; government and non-government organisations.
The TFAAB will produce an independent report to the Government with recommendations on how to make international trade work for the benefit of all New Zealanders.