I’d been avoiding posting about the recently signed free trade agreement between New Zealand and China. Every time I talk about trade, some readers see it as a last ditch attempt to save New Zealand manufacturing, bolster my own business and keep New Zealand isolationist a la Muldoon and the 70’s.
So a disclaimer… this is written from a macro economic perspective and, I hope, with a degree of neutrality. So here goes….
Reports this morning write that New Zealand Trade Minister Phil Goff was on a mission to Hangzhou today, looking for business opportunities presented by the Free Trade Agreement with China. Goff is reported as saying;
We have a number of promising trade prospects in this region, including for our dairy and wood exporters
So this is what commerce in New Zealand has come to? Selling unprocessed milk and timber to offshore interests who will then process and add significant value to it, and reap the economic returns from that value add. How about a visit to New Zealand designers Phil, encourage them to form partnerships (or better still open their own factories) in China to take advantage of the slave labour and polluting processes smiley happy Chinese workers enjoying the clean air and green surroundings and the proximity to other markets.
Sorry – but the lack of vision really makes my blood boil. And yes I know that the computer I’m writing this on and the cellphone in my pocket are made in China – it’s not about where something is made, its about New Zealand potentially losing it’s ability to add value to raw commodity products.