Post Trump and Brexit, English will spend $91.3m on a trade diplomacy revamp

The Government is to boost its spending on trade diplomacy in the face of growing global trade protectionism. Photo: Lynn Grieveson

Prime Minister Bill English has announced an extra $91.3 million in spending on trade diplomacy over the next four years as he grapples with growing trade protectionism in a post-Trump and post-Brexit world.

English today launched an update of the Goverment's trade strategy, titled Trade Agenda 2030, in a speech to the the International Business Forum and the Auckland Chamber of Commerce at the Langham in Auckland.

He made the case for free trade and set a new goal of having free trade agreements cover 90 percent of New Zealand’s goods exports by 2030, up from 53 percent today.

“It’s important that we remain an open and outward-facing country focused on creating and embracing trading opportunities, and Trade Agenda 2030 outlines our plan for achieving that," English said.

“It will see us seek to forge new trade agreements, maximise the benefits of existing ones, focus more on tackling non-tariff barriers, put more emphasis on services, investment and digital trade issues, and work even more closely with our exporters to help them create and succeed in new markets," he said.

The Trade Agenda 2030 package includes:

  • the opening of a new embassy in Dublin, Ireland and a new High Commission in Colombo, Sri Lanka;

  • $35.3 million to the Ministry of Primary Industries to focus on targeting non-tariff barriers;

  • $20.3 million to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to focus on improving market access, maximising benefits from existing FTAs and negotiating new ones, tackling non-tariff barriers;

  • $6.7 million to MFAT to improve the availability of consular services for New Zealanders overseas; and

  • the establishment of a Ministerial Advisory Group to ensure the public is better informed on trade issues.

The new funding is $80.3 million in operating funding over four years and $11 million in capital.