Dotty explanation

NZ trade offi­cials must believe that their future Free Trade Agree­ment with Chi­na will have weak rules of ori­gin, or maybe none. That’s the only sense I can make of this claim about the sig­nif­i­cance of NZ’s “agreement”: last week­end to start Free Trade talks with ASEAN. bq. The move with Chi­na boost­ed New Zealand’s pro­file with poten­tial trade part­ners, he said. “It’s by far the biggest poten­tial devel­op­ment and it leads peo­ple on to want to join up the dots.” ASEAN had its own agree­ment with Chi­na and see­ing NZ work­ing with the peo­ple’s repub­lic prob­a­bly had an impact on the way the oth­ers dealt with us, Fal­con­er said. (“NZ Herald”: empha­sis added) ‘Join­ing the dots’ means mak­ing a pat­tern appear from a puz­zle. But Craw­ford Faulkn­er’s metaphor (the news­pa­per gets his name wrong) does­n’t make much sense if the lines between the dots are just imag­i­nary links—as they must be under the nor­mal­ly exclu­sive rules of ori­gin in bilat­er­al, pref­er­en­tial trade agreements.

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