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‘Ideological free trade dogma will hit new heights if New Zealand joins a rumoured plan to resurrect the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) without the US. If Trade Minister Todd McClay commits New Zealand to this path, he will guarantee that the TPPA becomes an election issue’, warned Professor Jane Kelsey from the University of Auckland.
Chief negotiators from the non-US TPPA countries will meet in Canada in early May to prepare a plan for the side meeting of TPP trade minister’s during the APEC meeting in Hanoi.
Recent reports quote ministers from various TPPA countries hyping up the benefits from a deal without the US, including Japan which repeatedly said a deal without the US was meaningless. None has provided any evidence to back their claims.
Given the economic case for the original TPPA including the US was deeply flawed, Professor Kelsey observes that ‘attempts to show there are net gains from a TPP11 will take even more creative modelling’.
‘Nor have they indicated what will happen to the controversial US-led proposals that they signed on to reluctantly, such as new monopoly rights over biologics medicines and copyright or the foreign investor protections and investor-state arbitration.’
‘The National government needs to front up to New Zealanders and tell us what they are planning so they can be held accountable at the ballot box. They should not under-estimate the ongoing opposition to this deal, with or without the US. Secretive moves to resurrect it will fuel the fire.’
She also urged the Labour Party to confirm that it will remain opposed to the TPPA, ‘given the economic argument without the US is even more hollow than the original deal.’