New Zealand highly commended by WTO

Trade Minister Tim Groser has welcomed the conclusions of the fifth World Trade Organisation (WTO) Trade Policy Review of New Zealand.

“Once again New Zealand has been highly commended by the WTO for maintaining an open and transparent trade policy regime”, says Groser.

“New Zealand’s last review occurred in 2009 at the time of the Global Financial Crisis.  The review has highlighted how the Government’s sensible economic policies are taking New Zealand in the right direction.”

“There was significant interest from WTO Members in the effort the Government is making through its Business Growth Agenda to expand the contribution that exports make to GDP.”

“New Zealand was also highly commended for its economic policies, which are reflected in its high rankings in international indicators of ease of doing business, economic openness and human development.”

“Members also expressed confidence that New Zealand had strong fundamentals and trade policy settings for the achievement of sustainable growth”, says Mr Groser.

The Trade Policy Review Mechanism is a core pillar of the WTO framework that enables Members to report and receive feedback on trade policy

developments at regular intervals.  While the focus of the review is on the WTO framework of rules it also looks more broadly at trade and economic policy developments more generally.

New Zealand is subject to a Trade Policy Review within the WTO every six years. The next review will take place in 2021.

Referring to New Zealand’s biosecurity system in closing remarks, the chairperson of the review committee noted that relatively stringent sanitary and phyto-sanitary (SPS) measures might discourage imports of certain food and pharmaceutical products. Reform of procedures for introducing Import Health Standards and the development of such standards for products of plant origin was encouraged. In the area of technical regulations, New Zealand was invited to further harmonise its national standards with international standards in order to facilitate the free-flow of goods.

Members also acknowledged the importance of agriculture to New Zealand’s economy and trade and congratulated New Zealand for maintaining a liberal agricultural regime, emphasising it had the lowest producer support level among OECD economies. Nevertheless, New Zealand was urged to continue reform in order to ensure transparency and effective competition in the dairy sector.

Further information regarding New Zealand’s TPR process can be found at this link: https://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/countries_e/new_zealand_e.htm

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