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Trade at any price?

by Graham Southwell

potala1.jpg   The announcement that New Zealand is to sign a free trade deal with China next week will make history – it is a huge deal for New Zealand with the potential to underpin our growth for years to come.  Trade Minister Phil Goff has stated that “The estimated benefit to NZ of a free trade agreement is a growth in exports against baselines of between $225 million and $350 million a year and, in due course, a reduction in tariff payments worth $115 million.”

Suddenly Helen Clark’s reluctance to meet with the Dalai Lama during his visit to NZ last year starts to make more sense!  That said – there is a certain irony in the fact that the venue for the signing of the agreement is to be the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square!

In view of the current situation in Tibet – you might be interested to know that there is a website you can go to to register your concerns about China’s human rights record in this area:

Go to Website

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6 comments

Monique Goodson 7 April 2008 - 2:19 pm

So what’s your opinion? Should New Zealand do this or not?

Graham Southwell 8 April 2008 - 8:58 am

Of course – the opportunity has been described by Alan Carroll as as “a window others would die for.” Unfortunately a lot of people are doing just that in China right now – and when Winston Peters comes out in support of China with his comment that “people should not rush to judgement” as not enough facts are known over who is to blame for the turmoil – one wonders just how far NZ is going to have to go to secure the deal.

The website link gives people an opportunity to send a message to President Hu Jintao urging restraint, respect for human rights, and dialogue with the Dalai Lama, and to send a message to Helen Clark urging more pressure on China to talk to the Dalai Lama – something she would appear to be reluctant to do herself.

Kiwiblog » Blog Archive » Tibet 8 April 2008 - 9:41 pm

[…] China to enter into a dialogue over Tibet, you can do so at this website, which I found through the BNI Blog. Tags: China, Helen Clark, […]

Graham Southwell 2 May 2008 - 10:55 am

Dear Friends

you might be interest in viewing this. This was shown on Sunday morning on New Zealand TV

Hope this works

http://www.youtube.com/watch v=CTIiy_VMUeY&feature=email

Best wishes and Tashi Delek

Thuten Kesang [kesang@pl.net]
New Zealand

Graham Southwell 2 May 2008 - 10:57 am

Dear Graham,

Was most interested to read your blog on the New Zealand trade deal with China and the issue of Chinese repression in Tibet. I think you are right that there has to be trade with China, but not at any price, and certainly not at the price of soft-peddling or silence about repression in Tibet – and indeed other parts of China, notably in Xinjiang province.

Michael Randle

Clusculge 20 December 2008 - 6:09 pm

Thanks the author!

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