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Gradual reduction in tariffs is good for industry

09
Apr '08
The gradually reducing tariff reduction regime for textiles, clothing and footwear in the NZ – China FTA is a welcome departure from the extremist free trade policies of the past,” said Robert Reid, President of the National Distribution Union.

The NDU organises workers in the textile, clothing and footwear (TCF) sector in New Zealand, the major sector that still has tariffs and so faces the greatest challenge from free trade with China. The trade agreement sees tariffs on TCF imports from China reducing in equal steps to zero by the middle of next decade.

“The NDU does not promote free trade and we have always argued that there is a place for the protection of domestic manufacturing and service industries both here and in China. However we have taken the opportunity offered to engage through the FTA negotiation process and are pleased that the outcome will at least provide more certainty to the local TCF industry than New Zealand's own unilateral tariff reduction programme has over the years,” said Robert Reid.

“The 1996 -99 National Government tried to eliminate all TCF tariffs by 2006. This was stopped by the Alliance Party securing a tariff freeze from 2000 – 2005 as part of its Coalition Agreement with Labour in 1999. Without the Alliance, Labour re-introduced a post 2005 tariff reduction regime that has TCF tariffs reducing to 10% by 2009. However Labour remained committed to APEC Bogor goals that require all tariffs to be removed in developed countries by 2010.


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