In the last few days, the Prime Minister of Japan has come out saying that Japan shall take the lead in reviving the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement. Shinzo Abe, a long time supporter of a “free trade agreement” encompassing the Pacific region, including New Zealand, was disappointed when President Donald Trump cancelled United States involvement in the T.P.P.A. negotiations using an Executive Order a couple of days after he assumed the Presidency. Three months later, determined that a trade agreement encompassing the Pacific can still happen, Mr Abe has restarted negotiations.
However, Mr Abe now faces problems with the remaining ten supporters of the T.P.P.A. New Zealand goes to the polls on 23 September 2017 to determine whether or not the National-led Government of Prime Minister Bill English gets a historic fourth term or not.
There is no case whatsoever for remaining in the T.P.P. charade. New Zealanders are waking up to the meaning of such trade agreements. Deeply concerned by the secrecy and disgusted by the proposed conditions of the Trans Pacific Partnership, distrust of the Government when it comes to promises of our sovereignty being secured is reaching an all time high. No fair minded New Zealander:
- Wants to have their country subject to potential law suits from well resourced foreign multinationals with no regard or understanding for the New Zealand way of giving people a fair go
- Trusts a free trade agreement that requires 6,000 pages of text to be printed out – is a free trade agreement supposed to be about taking down barriers, rather than putting new ones up?
- New Zealand has international legal obligations to abide by which the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement would put in jeopardy, as well as our ability to participate in future accords that we may find to be beneficial
Prime Minister Bill English also seems to be less concerned about the Trans Pacific Partnership than his predecessor, former Prime Minister John Key did. Mr Key made it a centre piece of his economic growth plan to make the T.P.P. happen, whereas under Mr English there seems to be a greater focus on other economic stimulants. Due to the election in September, Mr English might decide to play cautiously until he knows what form the new Government takes, whether the support parties are still alive and able to assist him.
Before then though, there will be further announcements about the Trans Pacific Partnership. Other countries such as Chile and Vietnam, wary of China’s involvement in trade might now still see a future for the agreement. Given their economic performance and a higher level of corruption because the State denies the need for accountability, the difficulty off getting success in a new deal would be a major step.
But they are not New Zealand and this country will not gain from the T.P.P.A. We should walk away from it completely.