The Federation of Māori Authorities (FOMA) has welcomed the signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.
FOMA Chair Traci Houpapa says "New Zealand is a trading nation, we must optimise our exports and trade relationships for the wealth and prosperity of all New Zealanders."
She says the TPP laid a new trade and export pathway for New Zealand and for Māori enabling access to a wider regional economic agreement for the greater Pacific Rim.
Prime Minister John Key touted the conclusion to TPP negotiations as New Zealand’s biggest free trade agreement (FTA).
He says, “This agreement will give our exporters much better access to a market of more than 800 million customers in 11 countries across Asia and the Pacific, and help Kiwi firms do business overseas,”
According to Traci Houpapa, "Maori have always traded across Te Moananui A Kiwa so the TPP is a contemporary expression of age-old trading routes. The removal of tariffs is an immediate advantage for Maori exporters and the agreement sets the stage for better gains in the future. New Zealand has been represented by arguably the best trade negotiators in the world in the TPP talks and we are confident that Minister Groser and his team have landed the best possible deal for New Zealand."
The TPP will see tariffs on 93 per cent of New Zealand’s exports to FTA partners to the United States, Japan, Canada, Mexico, and Peru be eliminated.
It will also open those markets to dairy exporters through newly created quotas, in addition to tariff elimination on a number of products.
Tariffs on all other New Zealand exports to TPP countries will be eliminated, with the exception of beef exports to Japan which will see a decrease n tariffs.
Houpapa says it is critical that New Zealand takes its place at the TPP table alongside other major economies. "The TPP is about building partnerships through which we might grow our exports and trade potential. This agreement is the result of trade talks and negotiations led over time by both Labour and National, and it is important to remember that the TPP has the potential to benefit all New Zealanders."
FOMA represents around 150 Maori Authorities with a collective asset base of around $9billion with interests largely in the primary industry and a significant number of FOMA’s members are established exporters to Asia, North America and Europe.