So the T.P.P.A. negotiators changed the name of their baby. The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement has now become the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans Pacific Partnership.
The change of name to the C.P.T.P.P. should not fool anyone. Nor should the the attempt to water it down. Whilst I certainly approve of any attempt to weaken it, the best thing that can happen to the C.P.T.P.P. is what I have said all along: LET IT DIE.
We need to have comprehensive trade relations and that is something I have said consistently all along. What we do not need is a huge clumsy, ambiguous deal that is not clear on New Zealand sovereignty – I honestly thought concluding a trade agreement would result in a relatively small document, and not something considerably larger than what I imagine the U.S. Federal Tax Code to be when you stack it up all in paper.
There are other reasons why New Zealand should not need the C.P.T.P.P. or T.P.P or whatever you want to call it. We are known for playing by the rules that are set down by the World Trade Organization and that New Zealand negotiators are for the most part honest and transparent. That should give nations wanting to negotiate deals confidence to come to us direct and talk instead of trying to achieve what I thought was an impossible ask even if the T.P.P. was an appropriate format in which to be conducting trade negotiations. With 12 nations on board and thereby 12 separate sets of domestic demands that need to be met, there was never a doubt in my mind that one nation or another would eventually throw their toys out of the cot over something – the U.S. has withdrawn; Canada staged a bizarre no show and Japan and other nations including New Zealand had significant domestic resistance that needed to be addressed.
The trade agreements we have, I accept. If they are being negotiated, one of the things I would like to see inserted is a review clause that ensures all deals are up for review after x (say 20)years. If they are several years old like the 2008 New Zealand-China F.T.A., then we should talk to the other nation/s involved about agreeing to have a review within a few years.
Even though the Government says it has got New Zealand a better deal, it does not change the fact that the C.P.T.P.P. is no better than its poorly conceived predecessor. And like its predecessor, it deserves the same fate.
Let it die. Now.