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Govt to review free trade with 10 Asian countries

by October 18, 2016 General

New Zealand exporters are facing an increasing number of non-tariff barriers in South East Asia and the Government intends reviewing the free trade agreement that covers 10 countries.

Trade Minister Todd McClay says trade with the region has increased 25 percent since the 2010 ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand FTA came into force.

It covers Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

“It is expected to deliver $71 million in cost-savings for New Zealand exporters this year,” Mr McClay said.

“However, from a New Zealand perspective it is not clear that all businesses use the FTA when exporting to South East Asia and this means they could be paying unnecessary tariffs.

“Exporters of both goods and services also face an increasing number of non-tariff barriers in South East Asia, such as import quotas, subsidies, customs delays and technical barriers, which are holding them back.”

Mr McClay says the Government will review the AANZFTA ahead of a comprehensive review by New Zealand, Australia and the Asian member countries next year.

“This review will help us better understand the New Zealand business perspective going into the broader review and equip us to seek possible improvements to the FTA,” he said.