Getting support for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)

26 May 2017

mikesblog

An 11 nation TPP is looking like more of a possibility every day. The United States has said that it will not be party to the TPP, but other countries have indicated they want to press on with reaching an agreement.

For horticulture, one of biggest benefits from the TPP is tariff reductions for produce going into Japan. This is predicted to be worth $25 million in the first year alone. So getting the TPP back on track will have real advantages for New Zealand and the horticultural growers, as Japan is one of the 11 remaining TPP nations keen to have this trade agreement.

Horticulture prospers from a solid domestic supply base valued at $2.2 billion, but makes its premium earnings from exports. Exports have been growing rapidly, having increased in value by 40 percent in the past two years, to be worth $3.4 billion.  The TPP will accelerate that growth and return more money to the New Zealand economy.

The support of the New Zealand public will be required for the TPP to be successful.

At the moment, one of the Parliamentary Select Committees is considering mandatory country of origin labelling for single ingredient food. Horticulture has seen massive support for this to become law for fresh fruit and vegetables. In just a few weeks, 8,000 New Zealanders have indicated they want mandatory country of origin labelling for fresh fruit and vegetables through a dedicated Facebook page. Only 95 have given negative feedback.

Opponents of mandatory labelling have said this will be trade distorting and seem to be opposed to New Zealanders knowing where there fresh fruit and vegetables come from. Yet most of the countries we export to require country of origin labelling and provided the law treats all countries equally, then there are no trade issues.

So I say, let consumers know where their fresh fruit and vegetables come from. Recognise that this is not trade distorting and, when it comes time to get support for the 11 country TPP, New Zealanders will be more inclined to accept this if they can see they are being treated the same as consumers of our fruit and vegetables in export markets. Then, when fruit and vegetables are imported we'll all know where they come from. International trade and the New Zealand public will be well served if we are on the same level playing field as the countries we trade with.

- Mike Chapman, CEO