TPP – Pluses and Pitfalls

by | Dec 9, 2013 | Uncategorized

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Touted as a 21st century trade agreement, the Pacific-wide Trans Pacific Partnership agreement has its pluses and pitfalls according to a Radio New Zealand National Insight documentary aired recently.
NZUS Council Executive Director, Stephen Jacobi, said our future depends on our ability to connect. Not only do we need freer movement of goods he said, but also services, capital and people.
Professor Jane Kelsey, a well known opponent of TPP, warned that the agreement is an attack on national sovereignty and that nations signing up risk financial instability and privacy intrusions.
New Zealand has been involved in trans-pacific trade pacts since 2005 when it signed the P4 agreement with Brunei, Chile and Singapore. This was the launch pad for TPP which now involves 12 countries including some of New Zealand’s biggest trading partners – the United States and Japan. Collectively the TPP economies account for $US27 trillion in GDP.
Calman Cohen of the Emergency Coalition for American Trade noted the TPP supports job creation. His organisation therefore advocates strongly for the agreement. President Obama has put TPP at the centre of his trade policy.
Responding to the observation that New Zealand’s prosperity is increasingly tied to the Asia Pacific region, Stephen Jacobi said our free trade credentials are second to none. As a champion of free trade we have a strong incentive to “get things right”. We also need to recognise the changing way of doing business in a globalised world. Our exporters are supplying into global value chains where our wood is made into furniture in China which is sold into the US, where our food is imported by Japan and used in products sold elsewhere in Asia.
Hayden Green, a writer for Consumer NZ, takes issue with the fact the public have been kept in the dark. Calman Cohen points out that a degree of secrecy is essential to get the deal done. Stephen Jacobi noted that recent leaks show NZ negotiators are defending our interests and that no one country can call all the shots.
There is little doubt the agreement will be concluded. Calman Cohen hopes it will be agreed by the end of the year. Stephen Jacobi said could be early in the new year. Interest being expressed in joining the agreement by China and Korea indicate it is a deal worth having.

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