US NZ Council Newsletter January 29, 2016

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US | NZ Council Newsletter
Presented by the
US | NZ Council
January 29, 2016

As Washington, DC recovers from its recent snowstorm this week, the US | New Zealand Council welcomes Ambassador Tim Groser into town.  Ambassador Groser formally presented his credentials as Ambassador to the U.S. to President  Obama in a ceremony at the White House yesterday, formally marking the beginning of his service.  We look forward to working with Ambassador Groser and a continued successful partnership between the Council and the Embassy.  Read more: Politico



U.S. Chamber of Commerce:  Clinton Will Support TPP after Election
January 29, 2016

In an interview from Davos with Bloomberg TV, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue assured viewers that if Hillary Clinton wins the Presidential election, she will support the TPP, even though she opposes it now.  Donohue argued that Clinton has publicly opposed the deal chiefly because her main challenger, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), has also done so. “If she were to get nominated, if she were to be elected, I have a hunch that what runs in the family is you get a little practical if you ever get the job,” he said. Donohue further said he believes there is a 75 percent chance the TPP would get done in the lame-duck session after the election.

Read More: Huffington Post

Senior Official:  Pressure’s on to pass TPP
January 28, 2016

Despite the opposition of presidential frontrunners Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the Trans-Pacific Partnership could still get through to passage this year, according to a senior administration official. The official expressed a belief that lawmakers would support the deal once they understand the benefits for their districts and states, as well as the costs of not approving it.  He also expressed confidence that the concerns Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and others have raised about pharmaceutical, tobacco and other provisions of the pact could be resolved.

Read more: Politico

The Trans-Pacific Partnership: The view from the Obama Administration
January 28, 2016

An Obama administration official expressed satisfaction about the number of “economically significant groups” that have announced their support for the TPP, and optimism that Congress would approve it despite the opposition of leading presidential candidates from both parties. Citing the proliferation of bilateral trade agreements involving TPP countries as evidence of the rapidly evolving international economic environment, the official believes that the choice isn’t between TPP and the status quo. It’s between TPP and the direction the world is heading.

Read More: Brookings

MPs break ranks on TPP
January 28, 2016

Two senior Labour MPs have broken ranks with the party line and declared their support for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), amid rumors that at least one, Phil Goff, could cross the floor of Parliament to vote with National if Labour opposes enabling legislation. Labor has joined the campaign to oppose the deal as the focus turns to the signing in Auckland next week.  Mr Goff, a former leader and former Trade Minister and now an Auckland mayoral candidate, and David Shearer, also a former Labour leader, told the Herald they both still supported the TPP.  Former Labour Prime Minister Helen Clark has also backed the TPP as its negotiations began under her leadership.
Read more: NZ Herald

New Zealand wine exports hit $1.5 billion as US becomes largest market
January 28, 2016

Wine exports are now worth more than $1.5 billion to New Zealand’s economy. The latest figures from New Zealand Winegrowers show New Zealand wine exports increased 14 per cent on 2014. New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive Philip Gregan said wine is now the country’s sixth largest export. In August, the United States became New Zealand’s most valuable wine export market, surpassing Australia.

Read More: Stuff

Democratic Mayors Line Up for TPP
January 27, 2016

Democratic mayors are lining up in favor of President Obama’s Pacific Rim trade deal, which is opposed by most Democrats in Congress and the Democratic presidential field. The big-city leaders argue that the Trans-Pacific Partnership  will create jobs and boost their regional economies.  “This is an opportunity to bring more economic and wage growth to our communities and the U.S. economy as a whole,” Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, said in a release on Monday.

A core group of Democratic mayors — Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Christopher Cabaldon of West Sacramento, California— vowed to canvass Capitol Hill to win votes for the TPP.  Mayors see the benefits of increased trade “in real and concrete terms” and are willing “to step out and take an aggressive approach to build congressional support,” Buckhorn told The Hill.  Many of the mayors represent port cities, such as New Orleans, or agricultural strongholds that are expected to benefit from the trade deal.

Read More: The Hill

‘Landmark’ Pacific Rim trade deal could boost U.S. exports
January 25, 2016

A Pacific Rim trade deal championed by the Obama administration represents a “landmark accord” that would yield considerable economic gains for the United States and 11 other nations, boosting exports by nine percent a year and increasing wages, according an analysis of the agreement by the Peterson Institute for International Economics.  However, the Institute also found that the TPP  would not increase job creation overall, and it could potentially force 50,000 U.S. workers each year to find new jobs, a process that might require them to pursue new training.

Read More:  Washington Post

TPP ‘great for NZ’ claims John Key
January 26, 2016

Prime Minister John Key continues to strongly support the TPP and claims the deal was “25 years in the making.” Prime Minister Key believes the Government has the public on its side and that TPP opponents had made up their minds about it before they saw the text or the national interest analysis.

Read More: NZ herald

United States

Kiwis torn on US ship visits
January 20, 2016

Half of Kiwis would view the return of the United States Navy to the New Zealand ports as a positive move, but a large minority does not want their ships back, according to the latest Herald DigiPoll survey. Prime Minister John Key believes resuming ship visits would be a positive step and extend markedly improved relations between the nations.

Read More: NZ Herald

Obama’s Asia Engagement Architecture: A Framework on Which to Build
January 28, 2016

Less than one month into 2016, Secretary of State John Kerry has visited Laos, Cambodia, and China, while U.S. President Obama welcomed Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to the White House, and Secretary Kerry and Secretary of Defense Ash Carter hosted their Philippine counterparts for a 2+2 ministerial meeting. The pace of top-level engagement with Asia-Pacific leaders will accelerate in February when President Obama hosts a landmark summit with all ten ASEAN leaders at Sunnylands.

Read More: The diplomat

Obama meets with Australian prime minister about trade and terrorism
January 19, 2016

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull made his first visit to Washington since assuming office in September, giving him and President Obama a chance to confer on how to advance trade ties in the Asia-Pacific region and discuss the fight against Islamic State. Turnbull, who came to power after a Liberal Party victory, is more conservative than Obama but has demonstrated a willingness to cooperate with the U.S. administration on issues such as the use of military force abroad and climate change.

Read More: Washington Post

New Zealand

Emirates to fly daily to New Zealand
January 28, 2016

Emirates said Thursday it would start a direct daily flight to Auckland from Dubai on March 1. The announcement comes just a week after Qatar Airways Chief Akbar Al Baker told Bloomberg his Doha-based airline would start direct flights to New Zealand this year. The flight will take just under 16 hours from Dubai to New Zealand and 17 hours 15 minutes on the return, the Emirates statement said.

Read More: Gulf News

Beef + Lamb New Zealand appoints new CEO
January 28, 2016

Beef + Lamb New Zealand has appointed Sam McIvor as its new Chief Executive Officer. He will also have the role of CEO of the New Zealand Meat Board. Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chairman James Parsons said McIvor is an experienced CEO who brings a range of strategic thinking and management experience to support both organizations’ work for sheep and beef farmers and the broader sector.

Read More: Scoop

Silver Fern flag gets MPs’ backing
January 28, 2016

Members of Parliament are in favor of a change to the national flag, a poll by the Herald concluded. Parliament does not get to decide whether New Zealand has a new flag – that will be decided by a public referendum in March. Prime Minister John Key wants a new flag, and has said that he would vote for the Kyle Lockwood-designed Silver Fern (Black, White and Blue).

Read More: NZ Herald

Fonterra cuts farmer milk payout
January 28, 2016

Fonterra has cut its milk price forecast for the 2015/6 season to $4.15 a kg of milk solids from a previous forecast of $4.60 a kg in response to weak international prices. DairyNZ estimates the break-even point for farmers to be at $5.40 a kg of milk solids and today’s announcement means farmers are likely to face two consecutive years of sub-$5 prices. It is believed that the key factor driving dairy demand are declining international oil prices which have weakened the spending power of countries reliant on oil revenues, and economic uncertainty in developing economies.

Read More: NZ Herald

Ratings agency downgrades NZ economy outlook
January 27, 2016

A leading international credit rating agency, Fitch Ratings, has affirmed its AA credit rating for New Zealand, but says the outlook for our agricultural exports means future growth won’t be quite as strong. Uncertainty over the external environment, migration rates and the impact from El Nino weather conditions were identified as risks.

Read More: NZ Herald

Royal NZ Navy Announces 75th Anniversary Program
January 22, 2016

The Royal New Zealand Navy will be on show nation-wide this year as it celebrates its 75th Anniversary. The generosity of principal sponsor Westpac and other sponsors enables the Navy to showcase its past, present and future, and commemorate the service of all the men and women who have served since its inception, and those who have supported the people in uniform.

Read More: Scoop

Air NZ: Domestic and international fares to drop
January 25, 2016

Lower fuel costs, an expanded fleet and increased competition are pulling down domestic and international prices on Air New Zealand. New Zealand has seen increased competition in domestic fares since Jetstar announced last June that it would expand its network. When tickets first went on sale a price war broke out between the two, and regional airfares were selling for as low as $9.

Read More: NZ Herald


Quest for Olympic Gold Makes Rugby Sevens a Priority
January 28, 2016

Rugby’s return to the Olympics means the focus this year will be on sevens — the shorter and arguably more dynamic version of the sport that will be played at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro. A run of serious injuries to New Zealand’s best players during the first two tournaments in Dubai and Cape Town, combined with the increasingly competitive nature of the series, have left New Zealand’s team trailing Fiji, South Africa, the United States, Argentina, England and France early in the standings.

Read More: New York Times