Guest post: Better work stories

by | Feb 24, 2017 | Trade Working Blog



Guest post from Katherine Rich, CEO of the New Zealand Food and Grocery Council and a member of the APEC Business Advisory Council.

How to develop a more compelling narrative about trade and globalisation was top-of-mind for senior business leaders from around the Asia-Pacific meeting in Bangkok over the last week.

I have been meeting with colleagues on the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) over the last week for the first of our four gatherings for this year. One of our major preoccupations has been the importance of ensuring that ‘inclusive and sustainable growth’ is more than just a catch-phrase, and telling that story well.

Trade has lifted billions out of poverty and continues to raise living standards. In these challenging times, however, trade has – unjustly – been vilified as the cause of job losses and economic displacement when in fact technological change and the deep ripples of the Global Financial Crisis have had a far greater impact.

ABAC colleague Richard Cantor of Moody’s and USC Marshall School Professor (and fellow Kiwi!) Carl Voigt will do some further work this year on the impacts of globalisation, in Carl’s case the research involving interviews with business from around the region, including in New Zealand (watch this space).

We also talked at length about the vital importance of pressing ahead with trade liberalisation. We need to create a more level playing field and the best-possible environment for the global value chains that help to drive productivity growth. I have been leading work on non-tariff barriers, seeking to ‘remove the grit from the machinery of trade’. Last year we looked at NTBs in food trade, and it is now time to look at other sectors (such as forest products and other manufacturing) to reinforce ABAC’s trade-friendly ‘cross-cutting principles’ for NTBs.

I also took part in some excellent and lively discussions on global data standards, the World Trade Organisation’s Trade Facilitation Agreement – which finally made it over the ratification line while I was in Bangkok! – and services trade. I took part in a fascinating session organised by DHgate’s Diane Wang, on the ‘CBET Network’, an exciting initiative to open up opportunities for SMEs through cross-border e-commerce – which of course make up the lion’s share of New Zealand’s economy as well as many others’.   (New Zealand Post is a founding member of CBET.) Diane made the insightful observation that in five years we probably won’t be talking about “e-commerce” or the “digital economy” any more – they will simply be the norm.

Overall, it was an excellent start to this year’s work to support economic integration and prosperity in our Asia-Pacific backyard – and, of course, it was made all the more enjoyable thanks to the warm hospitality, fantastic food and fascinating culture of Bangkok.


Register to stay up to date with latest news, as well as saving and discussing articles you’re interested in.

Latest News


Perhaps a cyclone was after all a fitting backdrop for the meeting of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) which was held in Auckland on 12-14 February – the global environment against which the meeting took place is decidedly stormy.  In the event the wind...


As I write this end of year dispatch, NZIBF is preparing to host the first meeting for 2023 of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC).  We are looking forward to welcoming the 200 or so business leaders and senior officials from APEC member economies across the...

NZ Herald: Time to lift our game in India

Following his recent visit to India our Executive Director Stephen Jacobi penned this article advocating a more strategic approach to the further development of the relationship. The article was published by the NZ Herald on 9 December.

APEC Rolls out Priorities for 2023

Issued by the Informal Senior Officials’ Meeting - Honolulu, The United States, 13 December 2022 Aiming to provide tailwinds for member economies to strengthen recovery and resilience, as well as advance broad-based economic growth, the United States rolled out its...

NZIBF 2022 Chair Report

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 2022 CHAIR’S REPORT I am pleased to present my second report on the activities and achievements of the NZ International Business Forum (NZIBF) for 2022-23, our fifteenth year of operations.  At the outset I would like to thank Members for...


New Zealand business will be represented at the APEC Leaders’ Week in Bangkok, commencing 13 November, by members of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). New Zealand’s three members – Rachel Taulelei, Malcolm Johns and Anna Curzon – supported by Stephen Jacobi...

Submission to MFAT for CPTPP Review

30 September 2022 Phil Mellor Economic Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Wellington (By email) Dear Phil, Thank you for your email of 1 September, seeking our comments on the three year review of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans...