Alibaba has floated a proposal for a free trade zone to be created in Auckland near to the airport. Alibaba president Michael Evans promoted the idea to senior Cabinet ministers during a recent visit to New Zealand. Trade Minister Todd McClay says the proposal “merits further consideration”.

McClay indicates that if it results in goods flowing more easily across borders it is worth pursuing. But, he says, given the regulatory issues it would need to have input from a range of government departments.

Free trade zones typically facilitate cross-border trade by removing obstacles imposed by customs regulations and can ensure faster turnaround of planes and ships by lowering custom-related formalities.

Alibaba’s strategy is to aggregate thousands of small NZ businesses onto a platform where their products are pooled and shipped at a cost low enough to make it good for both consumers and sellers.

Alibaba is understood to want to develop the proposal further with Auckland Airport and NZ Post. Evans notes that Alibaba has to show there are creative ways to do things that can make governments and trade ministers comfortable that this can work and can be beneficial on a reciprocal basis.

Source: NZ Herald