The ink is barely dry on the TPP and New Zealand has the prospect of another giant free trade deal in the offing with the European Union taking the first steps towards an FTA with New Zealand.
It was announced early this morning that the EU Commission will seek to negotiate separate FTAs with both New Zealand and Australia as part of its trade strategy for the next four years.
The caveat is that talks will take in account “EU agricultural sensitivities.”
The announcement is the culmination of years of effort on the part of New Zealand to improve trade conditions in what is a market of 500 million consumers.
One thing we should have learned from the TPP is that we’re entering a period of diminishing returns from free trade deals. But there’s also an opportunity cost here. While all of our diplomats are trying to negotiate lower dairy tariffs to grow our economy they’re not doing anything about climate change, which is a major economic challenge that requires a diplomatic solution.
Droughts and extreme weather events are expensive things. The 2008 drought cost the country about $2.8 billion in one year (the TPPA is supposed to bring in $2 billion over ten years). To avoid entering a period of catastrophic droughts and storms we have to agree on a global reduction of carbon emissions. So that’s something need to be negotiated between states. Y’know – diplomatically. It is so, so stupid that we have all of these diplomats running around trying to eke out trivial gains from trade agreements while ignoring this massive looming crisis that is going to devastate our economy.