Did Groser sell out on TPPA with nothing on agriculture?

Did Key and Groser sell out on TPPA with nothing on agriculture?
According to the Wall Street Journal, trade minister Groser says the politicians have ‘informally “closed out” all but two major areas’ of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations.

Those areas are state-owned enterprises and investment, especially the right of foreign investors to sue governments directly.

‘Assuming the report is accurate, New Zealanders should be very worried’, according to Auckland University law professor Jane Kelsey.

It means New Zealand has already made the big political trade-offs on the intellectual property chapter, including medicine patents and biologics, copyright and the Internet, and the transparency annex on Pharmac’s processes.

Professor Kelsey warned that ‘there should be no illusion that a solution on those and all other issues will be on anything other than US terms. Ironically, President Obama has even more negotiating leverage now that Republicans control both houses of the Congress and will have to approve the final deal.’

‘Obama does not have fast track authority, which means that Congress can demand further concessions. The US can then refuse to certify New Zealand’s compliance unless we have implemented what the US says was agreed, even if it is not in the text.’

‘Worse still, Key and Groser appear to have made these concessions without any substantial final offer on agriculture. Talks between the US and Japan on agriculture are not yet resolved. Japan reportedly offered New Zealand virtually nothing new at the Sydney ministerial meeting two weeks ago. So, there is every indication that New Zealand will be hung out to dry’.

Professor Kelsey notes that the messaging from Minister Groser has shifted significantly in the past week. He is no longer talking of a gold standard deal where Japan, the US and Canada remove all their barriers to agriculture exports.

Instead, the minister says New Zealand would not accept a deal that excludes dairy. That means a minimalist outcome is acceptable.

This would be consistent with comments reported by Politico from Stephen Jacobi, who is in China on behalf of the NZ International Business Forum. Jacobi talked of a possible ‘sub-optimal outcome’ in the TPPA and the need for a built in agenda to revisit what is left out.

‘If the Prime Minister and Minister Groser have indeed made those concessions, they need to tell New Zealanders exactly what they have agreed to and confess that do not expect to get substantial market access in return.’

The Minister should also clarify the contradictions between his reported comments and the TPPA ministers’ formal report to the leaders. That says they are still seeking solutions on remaining issues that include intellectual property and environment, as well as SOEs and investment. Private reports suggest that other issues are also unresolved.

‘Did the leaders decide in a one hour meeting, chaired by President Obama, on what even the ministers had been unable to agree?’


3 thoughts on “Did Groser sell out on TPPA with nothing on agriculture?

  1. Kiaora. Excerpts from the Cabinet Manual 2008…

    The international context
    Major changes in science, technology, communications, trade patterns, financial systems, population movement, the environment and many other matters of international concern mean that more and more law is made through international processes. The powers of national governmental institutions are correspondingly reduced. This has important consequences for national and international constitutional processes. Under changes to parliamentary procedures, Parliament has a greater opportunity to scrutinise and comment on the more significant international treaties before they are ratified by the Executive.

    Changing the constitution
    In theory, many parts of the constitution can be amended by legislation passed by a simple majority of the Members of Parliament. That power is, however, restrained by law, convention, practice and public acceptance. Some limits on constitutional change arise from the international obligations which have just been mentioned.

    Other constitutional changes arise from legislation enacted in the regular way, such as the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990, from decisions of the courts, from new prerogative instruments, and from changing practices (which may contribute to new conventions). Some
    matters are better left to evolving practice rather than being the subject of formal statement. But such development, like other changes to the constitution, should always be based on relevant

    Page 6

    Groser espousing his dirty dealings on that TPP as being secretive I am biding my time on what exactly their spin words will be in those chapters and if required we Kiwi’s can push for a Commission of Inquiry, specifically focusing on this govt’s activities because this rubbish agreement is about big changes to our constitution and an inquiry may be established to inquire into a matter of policy or a matter of conduct, or into an issue/issues that requires consideration of both policy and conduct.

    To date the conduct of secret negotiations behind closed doors and I’d like to know who NZ’s stakeholders are? I have read many submissions by USA stakeholders, unless NZ’s is just FONTERROR.

    I’ve read NZ Fonterra’s subsidiary in the USA’s submission and thats the only one I have cited when i subscribed to World Trade Online.

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