EU remains mainly protectionist

The Herald reports:

The says the European Union free trade agreement is a “step forward” but farmers here have “every right” to feel let down as agriculture has been largely left out.

Trade spokesman Todd McClay gave the deal a “6 out of 10”, given major wins for kiwifruit, seafood and Pharmac.

“It is a good agreement. It is a step forward. There are many parts of the economy that will benefit from this. It does allow us to take steps forward with the European Union.”

He said he would not have “walked away”, but would have kept the negotiations going around meat and dairy open.

He also cautioned the wider implications in terms of the precedent it set in negotiations with other countries and the missed opportunity for diversifying further away from China.

It’s probably the best that could be achieved considering how wedded the EU is to protectionism in primary industries.

It is a shame they are, because geopolitically the smartest thing right now would be a giant zone between the EU, US, UK, Australia, NZ, Canada, Japan and South Korea – basically the liberal democratic countries.

By blocking us greater access to EU markets, the EU is leaving us more vulnerable to China. When China does the equivalent of Russia and Ukraine, we will be very painfully exposed. If the EU wants us to stand up for liberal democratic values, they need to help us be less reliant on China.

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