19 Nov 2012

Pluses and minuses for trade in US election result

9:55 am on 19 November 2012

New Zealand's agricultural trade envoy thinks the return of Barack Obama as United States president will be good for progress in international trade negotiations in the short term, but not necessary in the longer term.

Alistair Polson, who is also a Whanganui farmer, says having the same US administration in power for another term will be less disruptive for the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations which are at a crucial stage.

"At the last administration change four years ago, we saw new negotiators being moved in position, new leadership and these people had to be briefed and to be frank took months to come up to speed and work out their position for their administration."

Mr Polson says if there had been a change to a Republican administration, there could have been a slowdown in negotiations while positions were sorted.

He says the Obama administration may also be able to focus some attention on trade and the Trans-Pacific Partnership because it will be less of a challenge in trying to win support in a Republican-controlled Congress.

However, Mr Polson says from the wider international trade perspective, the Obama win is not so positive because the Republicans tend to have a stronger and more open attitude to trade.