Press Release – Professor Jane Kelsey

When someone at the Singapore hotel that hosted the recent ministerial meeting on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement suggested the next meeting of ministers could be in Europe, I thought he was joking, says Auckland University law professor …11 December 2013

TPPA ministerial slated for secure enclave of Davos, Switzerland in January 2014

‘When someone at the Singapore hotel that hosted the recent ministerial meeting on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement suggested the next meeting of ministers could be in Europe, I thought he was joking’, says Auckland University law professor Jane Kelsey.

But a report out today from Inside US Trade suggests the next meeting of ministers from 22-25 January is likely to be on the margins of the World Economic Forum’s annual talkfest in the opulent mountain village of Davos in Switzerland.

‘That is about as remote from the Asia Pacific as you can get – and from the handful of pesky observers who still manage to be present and gain inside information even though the TPPA meetings stopped holding any formal stakeholder process’, Kelsey said.

Davos is notorious for its high security and cost, with no access for outsiders.

Others are suggesting it may be too late to have the meeting at Davos itself, and ministers may convene in nearby London or Geneva.

‘Setting a one month target for their next meeting suggests the ministers are not expecting a lot of technical work to be done between now and then, with most governments on Christmas holidays. Rather, they will be working out their next positions and offers in what has become a politically driven process.’

Trade Minister Groser is predicting a deal can be finalised by mid-2014.

‘The shroud of secrecy being drawn around the process is becoming ever tighter as the political deal-making intensifies’, Kelsey said.

‘The governments seem determined to make it nigh on impossible to find out what they are doing. Despite mounting calls across almost all the TPPA countries for greater openness, the ministers are heading in the opposite direction’.

ENDS

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