The New Zealand International Business Forum (NZIBF) is delighted and relieved at the announcement that a conclusion has been reached in the long-running Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations in Atlanta.
“This deal is a testament to the perseverance and skill of New Zealand’s negotiators, led by Trade Minister Tim Groser”, said NZIBF Executive Director Stephen Jacobi.
“While we need time to analyse all elements of the final agreement, New Zealand’s trade interests look to be well served by substantial liberalisation in most sectors with the exception of dairy. Exports of beef, horticulture, wine and seafood, wood products and manufactured goods and a range of services sectors should all get a major boost. The dairy outcome is certainly not what we hoped could be achieved nor what the region needs to boost trade and feed people, but it marks nonetheless a step forward and one which can hopefully be improved over time”.
Mr Jacobi also expressed satisfaction that New Zealand’s key defensive interests had been protected in the negotiation.
“Contrary to the worst predictions New Zealand’s adjustment arising from this agreement will be manageable. Pharmac is preserved; there are only marginal increases likely in the costs of medicine; New Zealand’s existing policy settings in intellectual property (with the exception of copyright term) are largely secured; the continuing right to regulate in public health, the environment and the Treaty of Waitangi is maintained; investor state dispute settlement will not apply to New Zealand’s overseas investment regulations or to tobacco measures; and New Zealand’s state owned enterprises will be subject to existing laws.
“TPP also contains some useful advances in environment and labour and processes to align regulatory processes according to world’s best practice. This will help lift the bar on economic management and performance across the whole region”.
Mr Jacobi said that the NZ International Business Forum would participate actively in the ratification process in New Zealand including by making submissions to the Select Committee.
“We now have the opportunity to discuss the benefits and assess any possible costs of this agreement on the basis of facts. The benefits arise not just from the trade gains, but from New Zealand being connected more seamlessly to an economic space representing 40% of the world’s GDP. We hope TPP will attract the widest possible bipartisan support from New Zealand political parties”.
“We thank the Minister and officials for their commitment and perseverance in securing this outcome and congratulate them for this significant achievement after many days of hard work in Atlanta” concluded Mr Jacobi.