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Could New Zealand retail be Trump-ed by tariffs?

  • News
  • October 15, 2018
  • Jai Breitnauer
Could New Zealand retail be Trump-ed by tariffs?

There’s been a funny meme going around recently about time zones. It says something like, “In Sydney it’s 8am, in London it’s 10pm, and in the USA it’s 1942.” Of course, this relates directly to the Brett Kavanaugh scandal. But to be honest, it could apply to a whole pile of policies introduced under the Trump administration, particularly the revival of trade tariffs.

Way back in the 19thand early 20thCenturies, trade tariffs were commonplace. As globalisation and the internet have opened-up international markets, many tariffs – or taxes – on imports have been reduced or removed by many countries to allow more competition and consumer choice, and free trade agreements have been a preferred modus operandi. However, last year, Trump dialled international trade back to the glory of the wartime era by placing extensive tariffs on imports from China – a campaign promise – which of course China matched.

Most economists recoiled at the news. Generally, they advise against these sorts of broadly applied, punitive tariffs. They hurt the consumer as higher costs are passed on, they hurt manufacturers who rely on foreign imports, and they can make the domestic market less efficient as competition is reduced. Bad news for the US and China, but what does all this mean for New Zealand?

“The tariffs introduced by the United States on imports from China have led to retaliatory tariffs being introduced by China. Overall, about US$360 billion of bilateral trade has been affected,” says Jim Robinson, Manager Trade and Regulatory Cooperation at New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment.

“These additional tariffs make trade between the US and China more expensive, dragging on bilateral trade.  While in the short-term this could lead to an increase in the supply and reduction in prices of some goods in third markets, including New Zealand, the flow-on effects are difficult to predict.”

Reassuringly, Robinson says that so far, the impact on the NZ economy has been limited. However, it is hard to know if that will be maintained. 

“Further escalation in trade tensions are a source of downside risk for the global economy, which poses downside risk for the New Zealand economy,” he says. “Higher trade barriers could significantly disrupt global supply chains, making some tradable goods more expensive. It is difficult to predict what the net impact for New Zealand’s imports would be.”

The US-China trade war, coupled with the upcoming UK departure from the EU (increasingly looking like a no-deal Brexit), could place secondary tension on global markets, affecting NZ trade. But in the theatre of Trump, literally anything could happen, so best not hold your breath worrying about it. 

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Eat my Lunch opens its first physical store

  • News
  • July 23, 2019
  • Courtney Devereux
Eat my Lunch opens its first physical store

The popular buy one give one model of Eat My Lunch has officially opened its first retail store in Auckland’s downtown Britomart. The store maintains its charity initiative, supplying a Kiwi kid lunch with every $14 spent.

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InStyle names All Is For All’s Grace Stratton a ‘Badass Woman’

  • News
  • July 18, 2019
  • The Register team
InStyle names All Is For All’s Grace Stratton a ‘Badass Woman’

Grace Stratton, the 20-year-old founder of specialty ecommerce site All Is For All, has been named one of 50 global Badass Women by US glossy magazine InStyle. The list includes international celebrities like Mindy Kaling and businesspeople like Stitch Fix chief executive Katrina Lake.

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Wellbeing in the workplace: Here's how its affecting your staff, and your bottom line

  • Opinion
  • July 18, 2019
  • Elly Strang
Wellbeing in the workplace: Here's how its affecting your staff, and your bottom line

Idealog editor Elly Strang recently spoke at the Magazine Publishers Association conference about the importance of wellbeing in the workplace, and the key takeaways from Wellness Month. She shares why it shouldn't be thought of as a luxury nice-to-have, like yoga classes, as research is showing it impacts on your bottom line, as well as some tips on how to create change in the workplace.

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How HomeAR is incorporating AR into architecture design

  • technology
  • July 18, 2019
  • Courtney Devereux
How HomeAR is incorporating AR into architecture design

Many people struggle to envision plans from simple 2D renders and floor plans, as without a designer's eye, filling in blanks from imagination isn’t the most reliable method when it comes to something as important as building a brand-new home or store. Reactar has launched an augmented reality-based platform, HomeAR, to counteract this, which allows users to see and engage with homes in a virtual way, making the very personal process more reliable.

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  • Who's Where
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Bay of Plenty D2C Saltysea opens its first store

  • Design
  • July 17, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
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Stephanie Saxton has been selling cheeky swimsuits and ethical activewear online out of Bay of Plenty's Athenree since 2018. She's now opened Saltysea's first bricks and mortar store, the Salty Collective.

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