Extract from Trade Minister Tim Groser’s address to the Japan Press Club, Tokyo, 24 April 2013

by | Apr 29, 2013 | Uncategorized

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“I have tried to follow closely the debate in Japan over the past two years or so on whether Japan should join TPP. It is a fundamentally a debate about change. As is the case in other countries, it is important to keep matters in perspective. Wildly exaggerated accounts of what TPP might or might not do should be treated with extreme suspicion. We hear a few of these voices in my own country as certain people attempt to make the case against TPP.

We need to differentiate those exaggerated claims, often made by people who have an ideological problem with all trade agreements, from legitimate public concerns about the implications of a poorly drafted agreement. In public health, for example, it is essential in my country that our public health system is fully protected as we work through the detail of some of the provisions. And I have given absolute assurances to the public that the New Zealand Government will never enter into any agreement, whether it is TPP or another international agreement, that would undermine fundamental institutions in our public health system.

Investor-State Dispute Settlement provisions are another example. Drafted without care and without proper safeguards, they would indeed be a problem for sovereign Governments. Drafted appropriately and with adequate safeguards to ensure that this or any Trade Agreement does not interfere with the legitimate right of future Governments to legislate proper public policy in fields such as health and the environment, they are a useful part of the agreement. We have such provisions in other Trade Agreements, such as our FTA with China and the FTA between Australia, New Zealand and ASEAN. We value those provisions. We want to encourage outward investment into Asian emerging markets. These provisions provide an additional element of security to such investments.

Having said that, we should be clear about one thing. TPP is indeed about change. But it is about economic change of a manageable, useful and finally necessary nature if our economies are to continue to participate fully in the extraordinary development of the 21st Century Asia Pacific economy.”

See the full text here.

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