Saturday, 5 April 2008

China FTA

So, New Zealand, in a few days time, is going to have a revolutionary free trade agreement with China, the first Western nation to do so. And as usual, John Minto and his group are out protesting in force, trying to end any economic ties which might, in time and in force, actually contribute to the freeing-up of China in other areas.

It is true that the treatment of Tibetans by the Chinese Government is to be questioned. But one question: how will a free trade deal such as this one contribute to the (supposed) violence and mistreatment? A free trade deal doesn't mean that China as a whole, or the government, is trading with New Zealand -individual businesses are. A free trade deal would also contribute to the flow of citizens between the two countries, which means that New Zealanders have more prominence there than they would without the deal.

A free trade deal doesn't necessarily mean that Kiwi jobs are lost, either. Instead, it gives us a chance to specialize. Just as China is flooding the NZ market with cheap goods, we can export products, such as meat and diary goods, to them. China is a HUGE market, and New Zealand has to look for its niche there -like Western Australia has done with its raw materials (and look at them!).

Free Trade means that the two countries can engage in more peaceful business activities, and corporations in either country can learn off corporations in the other, and become more flexible. Free Trade also means more flow of capital resources between the two countries.

Free Trade has had innumerable benefits for many countries throughout history, and a NZ-China FTA will not be different in its overall outcome over the course of several years. Free Trade is good for opening countries up and making them more transparent, moderating and/or ending government-imposed violence, such as in Tibet. Free Trade acts as a check on a nation's military record, and has been very successful in stopping international conflicts. The benefits from a nation acting in its rational, economic self interest will always outweigh the perceived "benefits" from a nation acting in its irrational, political self-interest.

No comments: