TPP Contains Major Advances at Manageable Cost

by | Oct 12, 2015 | Trade Working Blog, Uncategorized

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At eleventh hour in Atlanta last week Ministers managed to conclude the long-running TPP negotiations. Members of the New Zealand International Business Forum (NZIBF) are both delighted and relieved.

The deal was without doubt a testament to the perseverance and skill of New Zealand’s negotiators, led by Trade Minister Tim Groser.

Early analysis of the detail released by the Government in the course of last week suggests that New Zealand’s trade interests look to be well served by substantial liberalisation in most sectors with the exception of dairy. The dairy outcome is certainly not what we hoped could be achieved but marks nonetheless a step forward with some useful access opened up in Japan and the United States. Tariff elimination is achieved over time for horticulture, wine and forest products in all markets. Significant new access, again over time, is achieved for beef, seafood and manufactured goods in Japan, the United States and Mexico. A range of services sectors get a major boost. Some useful provisions are included for wine labelling and medical equipment regulation and a range of provisions will improve supply chain connectivity , regulatory coherence and help address non tariff barriers. These are all major advances.

Contrary to the worst predictions we expect New Zealand’s adjustment arising from this agreement to be manageable. Pharmac is preserved; there are only marginal increases likely in the costs of medicine; New Zealand’s existing policy settings in intellectual property (with the exception of copyright term) are largely secured; the continuing right to regulate in public health, the environment and the Treaty of Waitangi is maintained; investor state dispute settlement will not apply to New Zealand’s overseas investment regulations, government services, fisheries quotas or tobacco measures; and New Zealand’s state owned enterprises will be subject to existing laws.

And for the first time ever for an FTA TPP contains some useful advances in environment and labour which should be welcomed by environmental organisations and unions.

Attention now turns to the ratification process in New Zealand and especially to the release of the text within the next month,which will allow us to assess the benefits and any possible costs on the basis of facts. NZIBF will engage in this process and hopes for the widest possible bipartisan support from New Zealand political parties

This post was prepared by Stephen Jacobi, Executive Director of the NZ International Business Forum (NZIBF). More information about the TPP Atlanta outcome is available at http://www.tpp.mfat.govt.nz.

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