What’s so great about free trade negotiations with Russia? We export only $180 million a year to them, most of it butter. That’s 2% of our exports to the US and Japan but Key’s made no progress on their trade barriers. And peak oil will soon make sending our butter all the way round the world uncompetitive vs Russian dairy farmers.
Russia is a third-rate country with a GDP per capita on par with New Caledonia. It’s also one of our furthest export destinations in terms of carbon miles – goods either go right round to Europe and then into Russia or up to Vladivostok and across by train. It has its own dairy industry, which is growing strongly. Russian government policy is to move towards self-sufficiency in food, including producing 90% of its own dairy by 2015. Hardly the most attractive market.
Still, Key got his photo op. He sat and played with an ipad with Putin’s puppet, Dmitry Medvedev. Can you feel the sheer export value radiating from that meeting, New Zealand?
Key was meant a “chat” with Obama – you’ve got to love Vernon Small taking the piss out of that:
“Key has secured a treasured “chat” with United States President Barak Obama… Under the rules for the meeting, set by the US, New Zealand media would be allowed only one stills photographer – a decision Mr Key said yesterday was disappointing.
His officials were working last night to relax the restriction, which would deny Mr Key valuable media coverage, especially television footage, of the opening of the event.”
But there’s no reporting that this one-on-one meeting actually took place. Maybe Obama decided he had better things to do than be Key’s photo op.