Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


No TPP deal unless dairy and Pharmac are in, says Key

No TPP deal unless dairy and Pharmac are in, says Key

By Pattrick Smellie

Nov 26 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand won't sign up to the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal unless it includes an agreement to progressively abolish tariffs on agricultural products exported to North America, Prime Minister John Key said today.

With international negotiators for the trade pact due in New Zealand next week for the next round of talks on the TPP, Key also said it would "not a good look" if New Zealand made concessions that undermined the status of its drug-buying agency, Pharmac.

TPP opponents charge not only that the negotiations are too secretive, but that they are being driven by American companies' desire to exert greater control over US intellectual property in third markets.

Pharmac, which buys medications distributed through the public health system, has been a target of "big pharma" American drug manufacturers, who object to the fact New Zealand is sourcing lower cost generic pharmaceuticals which save the taxpayer money, but deny sales to the American producers of the original drug formulations.

Key gave no detail of New Zealand's negotiating position at his post-Cabinet press conference in Wellington today, but said New Zealand was "not prepared to see dairy excluded" from the deal.

Both Canada and the US impose high tariffs - as high as 300 percent in some cases in Canada - along with small quotas for total imports, and American dairy farmers have lobbied vigorously against opening their market up to competition from Fonterra, which they paint as monopolistic and anti-competitive.

"For New Zealand to do a deal, it has to be a deal on our terms," said Key, who met with TPP countries' leaders, including re-elected US President Barack Obama, on the fringes of last week's East Asian economic summit, where a new commitment was made to conclude TPP negotiations in 2013.

New Zealand was a prime mover in establishing the TPP initiative in 2007, which the US later joined, and which has become a priority for the Obama administration as it seeks to engage more deeply with the Asian region and to stimulate its own economy.

"President Obama is deadly serious about wanting to do a deal," said Key. "He believes he can get a deal done."

But New Zealand could not sign up to a deal that excluded dairy exports, the country's largest industry.

Following the US elections earlier this month, Obama's Democratic Party controls the US federal Senate, where much opposition to TPP has come from in the past, although the Republican Party controls the federal Congress, the US Lower House of Representatives.

Other TPP negotiating nations are Singapore, Australia, Mexico, Brunei, Chile, Peru, Vietnam, and Malaysia, with Thailand signalling at least week's summit in Cambodia that it also wished to join. Japan is also continuing to show interest.

At the same meeting, New Zealand signed up to negotiation of a separate trade pact, the Regional Economic Cooperation Partnership, which includes the countries of the Association of South-East Asian Nations and China, but not the US.

However, RCEP is seen as likely to take longer than TPP to conclude and is less committed to what trade negotiators call a "high quality" agreement which seeks to limit the extent of special exclusions to meet member countries' trade sensitivities.

Opponents of the TPP are conducting briefings in Wellington and Auckland this week, in concert with the Green Party.

(BusinessDesk)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Power Outages, Roads Close: Easter Storm Moving Down Country

The NZ Transport Agency says storm conditions at the start of the Easter break are making driving hazardous in Auckland and Northland and it advises people extreme care is needed on the regions’ state highways and roads... More>>

ALSO:

Houses (& Tobacco) Lead Inflation: CPI Up 0.3% In March Quarter

The consumers price index (CPI) rose 0.3 percent in the March 2014 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today. Higher tobacco and housing prices were partly countered by seasonally cheaper international air fares, vegetables, and package holidays. More>>

ALSO:

Notoriously Reliable Predictions: Budget To Show Rise In Full-Time Income To 2018: English

This year’s Budget will forecast wage increases through to 2018 amounting to a $10,500 a year increase in average full time earnings over six years to $62,200 a year, says Finance Minister Bill English in a speech urging voters not to “put all of this at risk” by changing the government. More>>

ALSO:

Prices Up, Volume Down: March NZ House Sales Drop 10% As Loan Curbs Bite

New Zealand house sales dropped 10 percent in March from a year earlier as the Reserve Bank’s restrictions on low-equity mortgages continue to weigh on sales of cheaper property. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Chorus To Appeal Copper Pricing Judgment

Chorus will appeal a High Court ruling upholding the Commerce Commission’s determination setting the regulated prices on the telecommunications network operator’s copper lines. More>>

ALSO:

Earlier:

Cars: Precautionary Recalls Announced For Toyota Vehicles

Toyota advises that a number of its New Zealand vehicles are affected by a series of precautionary global recalls. Toyota New Zealand General Manager Customer Services Spencer Morris stressed that the recalls are precautionary. More>>

ALSO:

'Gardening Club': Air Freight Cartel Nets Almost $12 Million In Penalties

The High Court in Auckland has today ordered Swiss company Kuehne + Nagel International AG to pay a penalty of $3.1 million plus costs for breaches of the Commerce Act. Kuehne + Nagel’s penalty brings the total penalties ordered in this case to $11.95 million ... More>>

ALSO:

Crown Accounts: Revenue Below Projections

Core Crown tax revenue has increased by $1.9 billion (or 5.0%) compared to the same time last year. However this was $1.1 billion less than expected and is reflected across most tax types, continuing the pattern of recent months. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Computer Power Plus
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news