The TPP issues covered in Ben Schaare's recent post connect to a broader trade context for New Zealand.
When the Uruguay Round ended and the WTO process stalled two decades ago, New Zealand’s trade diplomacy outlook was decidedly gloomy. The only preferential trade deal Wellington had signed was with its noisy neighbour across the Tasman, its largest trading partner, emigration destination, and source of foreign direct investment. As a very small economy (about 0.5% of global GDP in 2014), geographically isolated and with a competitive agricultural sector, gaining greater overseas market access for New Zealand outside the WTO was a daunting challenge. Failure to get bilateral deals with the United States (New Zealand’s third largest export market and source of FDI) or Japan (the fourth largest export market and fifth largest source of FDI) despite determined efforts from Wellington seemed to prove this painful point.