Groser off on WTO job pitch

Trade minister Tim Groser

Trade minister Tim Groser is on an international charm offensive in pursuit of director-generalship of the World Trade Organisation.

In Davos, Switzerland, for next week's world economic forum, Mr Groser will also attend an informal meeting of trade ministers to discuss the outlook for the multilateral trading system and preparations for the 9th WTO ministerial conference at the end of this year.

“The forum gives New Zealand a valuable opportunity to engage with the world’s top decision-makers on how to get the global economy back on a path of stable growth and higher employment, as well as a chance to discuss the implications for New Zealand,” he says.

Mr Groser will meet counterparts to discuss progress on New Zealand’s trade agenda as well as his candidature for WTO director-general.

Before heading to Davos, he will speak at the OECD Policy Dialogue on Aid for Trade in Paris and attend the launch of the OECD-WTO Trade in Value-Added Database later this week.

“It is critical leaders continue to explore ways to keep markets open and to achieve further trade liberalisation.

"Stimulating trade through liberalisation and regional integration provides an important engine not only for global economic recovery but also for economic growth, poverty reduction, and development,” Mr Groser says in a statement.

This year’s forum will be broken into four categories: global, regional, industry and business and will look into issues such as:

  • How to thrive when global competitiveness is increasingly driven by talent and innovation.
  • How to ensure stable, sustainable and affordable supplies of critical natural resources.
  • How to navigate a changing regulatory environment while pursuing new growth opportunities.
  • How to create new value in the face of generational and structural shifts that are reshaping business models.
  • How to adapt to the future evolution of social technology in a business context.
  • How to leverage rapid and far-reaching advances in science, technology and medicine.

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7 Comments & Questions

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Given our trade minister is is engaged in pursuing his personal ambitions of WTO director-general he should step down from his ministerial post.

There is a substantial conflict of interest between Mr Groser's personal ambitions and the greater good of the country.

It is entirely inappropriate for this minister to continue involvement with any TPP negotiations while he is personally seeking an international trade posting at the WTO.

To borrow from Mr Groser's "Inside US Trade" quote (where he freely gave away NZ's negotiation position in regards to Pharmac to improve his personal profile), I think the people of NZ would be "projectile political vomiting" if they understood that he may have single-handedly cost NZ hundreds of millions of dollars in the next decade for his own personal gain.

Mr Groser simply cannot honorably continue his personal ambitions at the WTO while continuing to be active in TPP negotiations. He must resign his Trade portfolio until the WTO appointment has been resolved.

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Rob... great post, but remember 'There is no corruption in NZ'. Now that's a Tui billboard I would sanction.

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+1 Rob,

Groser has used his position to advance his personal ambitions. He was never interested in an electorate, a National Party organisation or in Parliament.

Groser was parachuted into a high list position by National and never had a a singe public mandate.

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"Parachuted into a high list position by National and never had a a singe public mandate."

Unfortunately, he does have a public mandate as a result of our accepting and reaffirming MMP. List MPs are otherwise chosen by the "party", but so is the prime minister.

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Really hope Tim gets the job. He is a dedeicated and committed trade minister who has helped many NZ companies open doors in the international market. He has avoided petty politics as he focused on doing the best for NZ Inc. His biggest concern has been the bureaucrats rather than the opposition. Big question is, who will take his place as trade minister?

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Having seen Mr Groser at work on an overseas trade mission I am absolutely baffled he should have such a high reputation. He displayed very little sensitivity or diplomacy and zero charm.

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