Press Release – Professor Jane Kelsey

Ministers from the 12 countries that negotiated the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) have just met in Arequipa, Peru.18 May 2016

TPPA Ministers issue bland statement, serious pressures behind the scenes

Ministers from the 12 countries that negotiated the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) have just met in Arequipa, Peru.

‘The four paragraph ministerial declaration (so far only available in Spanish) is as bland and uninformative as their previous statements, reiterating how great they say the deal is and how eager other countries are to join’, according to University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey.

‘What they don’t tell us about their meeting is what really matters’, she said.

‘The fate of the TPPA is captive of US politics. President Obama will have stressed the need to provide assurances to gatekeepers in the US Congress who want stronger protections for new generation biologics medicines, oppose the protection of tobacco control measures from investors’ rights to sue, and to stop governments from requiring that financial data is held inside the country’.

‘This is make or break time for Obama, whose “legacy” deal is in jeopardy if he can’t get the TPPA through Congress during the “lame duck” period between administrations’, Kelsey said.

‘In reality, the timeline under the Fast Track law makes a vote during the lame duck period virtually impossible. Then the supposedly final text will be subject at least to renegotiation on those key points, if not blocked altogether, under a new administration.’

‘There are high risks of countries agreeing to more concessions now, especially a side letter setting out a strong interpretation of the vague compromise wording on biologics, and facing new demands for more concessions, whichever party wins the presidential race and/or control of the Congress.’

Professor Kelsey called on new trade minister Todd McClay not to sell New Zealand further down the road for a deal that imposes unacceptably high costs for New Zealanders for very little return.

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