Helen Clark and Phil Goff should be thanked by everyone for the work they have done in the free trade area. Their record in this area has been highly admirable. They have moved Labour away from its protectionist roots, so that the only anti free trade parties in Parliament are New Zealand First and the Greens.
It is important to note this is only a first step. An actual deal is some years away and will have challenges such as a change of President and getting through Congress.
Danyl has suggested that Helen Clark may have sold her vote to George W Bush on letting India legally develop nuclear reactors, in exchange for this free trade deal. If this is true, then again Helen deserves praise for getting such a high price tag for NZ’s pro-nuclear vote.
If John McCain becomes President, then I there is no barrier to the FTA. He is in favour of FTAs with literally everyone but Cuba and North Korea.
Obama’s rhetoric has been strongly against free trade. Will he pressure a Democratic controlled Congress to accept it, even if there is short term pain to some of their constituents?
Anyway this is seriously good news, and let us hope progress towards free trade continues. Oh yes, and will someone ask the former Minister of Foreign Affairs whether he thinks this is good or bad news? 🙂