TPP – threat or opportunity?

Is the TPP a threat to democracy?:

Almost three quarters of a million people around the world have signed an online petition that brands the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement a “threat to democracy” and a “corporate takeover”. . . .

“Many hundreds of thousands of people from around the world have sent a blunt message to politicians and corporations who tout the TPPA as a model for the 21st century that it does not represent not their 21st century”, said Jane Kelsey, who has been asked to present the petition to the negotiators. . .

Or is it of seminal importance for jobs?:

The Trans Pacific Partnership is of seminal importance for developing job opportunities in New Zealand, says Kim Campbell, chief executive of the Employers & Manufacturers Association.

But alongside our ongoing struggle to win access for our agricultural products we need a completely separate work stream dealing with intellectual property, Mr Campbell said.

“It is evident that in terms of the TPP, intellectual property is a complicated rat’s nest full of ambiguity and vested interests,” he said.

“Well-resourced groups have the capacity to subvert the TPP process if we are not most careful to ensure it is robust and enduring.

“Hence the need for caution and precision over the agreement’s terms and conditions.

“New Zealand business will be paying close attention to the details of this part of the agreement because tomorrow’s globally integrated business world will be driven by intellectual property.

“And we are 100 per cent committed to New Zealand negotiating a high quality TPP agreement for the job opportunities and economic growth prospects it can undoubtedly deliver.”

Business NZ sees the importance of the TPP for people:

The Trans Pacific Partnership will help build more successful communities, says BusinessNZ.

Speaking at the Trans Pacific Partnership Forum in Auckland today, BusinessNZ Chief Executive Phil O’Reilly said the TPP has the potential to raise living standards around New Zealand.

“This trade agreement goes beyond the 20th Century approach of simply seeking to reduce tariffs and border restrictions.

“It recognises the fact that industry now relies on complex supply and value chains involving producers in many different locations and countries. New Zealand is deeply involved in many international value chains and the TPP will enable more New Zealand businesses to trade more effectively in more countries, and that means increased growth and more jobs for New Zealanders.

“The particular value of the Trans Pacific Partnership is that it involves many of the fastest growing economies on earth. Economic growth in the Asia Pacific region is surging and the TPP will help unlock that growth for New Zealand’s benefit.

“It’s appropriate that New Zealand’s negotiators are focused on protecting and advancing our interests including public health, intellectual property, the environment, and the Treaty of Waitangi, and success in these areas will mean a high-quality trade deal that is sustainable in the long term,” Mr O’Reilly said. . .

Both sides of this argument are right about the need for caution over some of the details.

But one side is anti-trade in general and using that bias to oppose the TPP in its entirety.

The other realises the importance of trade for maintaining and creating work opportunities here and earning the export income which will support the first world economy and society to which we aspire.

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4 Responses to TPP – threat or opportunity?

  1. Viv says:

    ‘one side is anti trade in general’ – No, that sweeping statement is just wrong. There are many valid concerns about the TPPA, including the secrecy about the details. I am concerned that it could mean future NZ governments could be sued if new legislation impacts the profits of international corporations.

  2. JC says:

    “There are many valid concerns about the TPPA, including the secrecy about the details.”

    Said details have to go to our select committees and then be debated and voted in Parliament.

    “I am concerned that it could mean future NZ governments could be sued if new legislation impacts the profits of international corporations.”

    If we break provisions of the deal then we should rightly be sued. We are supposedly a country of laws and our word and thats how its been for all the other trade deals we’ve signed.

    Incidentally any country can pull out of the signed deal with 6 months notice.

    JC

  3. Viv says:

    If the full text is to be publically available and openly debated in parliament, then good. I wonder when that will happen. A lot of the concern is about lack of transparency so far. Ele’s comment that one side is anti-trade is unhelpful when discussing topics like this. I was shocked and horrified to hear on the morning news about some people in the protest kicking police in the head, criminal behaviour like that is inexcusable. There are many issues in NZ that people disagree about, violence won’t resolve any of them.

  4. JC says:

    “If the full text is to be publically available and openly debated in parliament, then good. I wonder when that will happen.”

    When the negotiators have reached an agreement to take back to their respective legislators for debate and voting. That could take several years.

    “A lot of the concern is about lack of transparency so far.”

    *All* trade negotiations are sensitive with the various lobby groups in each country demanding they be protected or enriched. Publicizing every little itch in such negotiations simply kills the process before the general public can get a chance to evaluate the overall benefits to the country. This isn’t secrecy.. its diplomacy that allows each nation to seek those overall benefits without undue influence. The place to address such concerns is in the Parliament and select committees where the concerns of the lobbyists and interest groups can be exposed and argued.

    JC

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