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

 


TPP result likely in a couple of months, says APEC’s Bollard

TPP result likely in a couple of months, says APEC’s Bollard

By Pattrick Smellie in Hong Kong

Jan. 14 (BusinessDesk) – The final shape of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement should emerge “in the next couple of months”, although how far the new trade pact will go in “new generation” issues such as intellectual property remains to be seen, says the executive director of APEC, Alan Bollard.

In an interview with BusinessDesk, the former Reserve Bank of New Zealand governor said TPP was now “very advanced” but contested the view that negotiations had been any more secret than for other trade pacts.

The difference was that TPP is trying to include a wider range of new trade issues than most free trade agreements.

“Trade negotiations are always carried out confidentially,” said Bollard, who stressed he had no inside running on the TPP negotiations, which are not part of his APEC role. “Were they not, that would be an open invitation for a heap of lobbying interest groups” to press for special deals to favour their sectors, he said.

As a result, the final shape of the TPP deal would require heavy scrutiny to determine its quality, and there was likely to be “quite a noisy process” as governments individually considered whether and how to ratify the agreement.

“There will be a TPP, but we will have to wait to judge its quality,” Bollard said, who was in Hong Kong to address the annual Asian Financial Forum on APEC’s increasing focus on cross-border trade in services and trade facilitation rather than traditional trade barriers, such as import tariffs.

The Australian Trade Minister, Andrew Robb, was reported yesterday as saying the TPP pact was close to being “sealed” and that intellectual property issues were no longer a sticking point. Rather, long-standing Japanese and American objections to lower agricultural trade barriers in areas such as the sugar trade were among the remaining issues.

The TPP agreement seeks a trade agreement spanning the Pacific Rim and currently involves 12 countries: New Zealand, Australia, the United States, Canada, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam, Chile, Peru, and Mexico.

South Korea this week expressed interest in joining, but only after concluding a bi-lateral FTA with China first. China is eyeing the TPP and promoting a less comprehensive Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

There was “potential for divergence on the new generation stuff” between TPP and RCEP, said Bollard, with “really important issues” including IP, protection of state-owned enterprises, and government procurement more difficult to tackle in RCEP than TPP negotiations.

“RCEP is likely to be much less comprehensive and have a much longer term horizon to reduce even traditional barriers,” said Bollard. “Economies at different stages of development need different approaches to trade integration.”

Critics of TPP claim it has become a creature of US corporate and political agendas to enforce harsh IP rules globally, with potential impacts on such initiatives as New Zealand’s low-cost generic drugs-buying agency PHARMAC, and to try and limit Chinese influence in the Asia-Pacific region.

The US Congress is currently wrangling over “fast-track” legislation which would almost certainly be required to secure American support for TPP.

China’s ambitions for its role as chair in 2014 of the non-binding APEC grouping of Asia-Pacific trading nations has yet to emerge fully, said Bollard.

“China and other economies have used APEC as a testing place, for getting things on the table, and watching others test ideas. That means that economies like China can be more comfortable about their place at the table and seeing things happen that they might not find digestible themselves.”

A key consideration for the year ahead was whether APEC could be both an incubator for new initiatives and an integrator of such initiatives.

“That’s yet to crystallise,” said Bollard. “They (China) are keeping an open mind on that. They’re watching Korea particularly. No economies want to be isolated.”

Commenting on New Zealand’s economic prospects in 2014, Bollard said the downturn in hard commodity prices affecting Australia’s economy was unlikely to be replicated in the soft commodities – food and fibre – that dominate New Zealand’s exports to slowing Asian economies.

However, it remained to be seen how New Zealand would extract greater margins from its low value, relatively unprocessed commodity exports at a time when improved supply chain efficiencies are the key to many industries’ improved outlook.

“How does the originator of those biological processes fit into those quite complex supply chains where the efficiency gains are in the supply chain rather than on-farm or in-forest?”

(BusinessDesk)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Petrol Burns Prices: Second Consecutive Quarterly Fall For CPI

The consumers price index (CPI) fell 0.3 percent in the March 2015 quarter, following a 0.2 percent fall in the December 2014 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today. The last time the CPI showed two consecutive quarterly falls was in the December 1998 and March 1999 quarters. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: NZ Broadcasters Launch Battle Against Global Mode ISPs

New Zealand broadcasters have confirmed they’ve launched legal proceedings against internet service providers who give customers’ access to “global mode”, which allows customers access to offshore online content, claiming it breaches the local content providers’ copyright. More>>

ALSO:

Sanford: Closure Of Christchurch Mussel Processing Plant Confirmed

The decision comes after a period of consultation with the 232 staff employed at the Riccarton site, who were told on 9 April that Sanford was considering the future of mussel processing in Christchurch. Recent weather patterns had impacted on natural spat (offspring) supply... More>>

ALSO:

Price Of Cheese: Dairy Product Prices Fall To The Lowest This Year

Dairy product prices fell in the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction, hitting the lowest level in the 2015 auctions so far, as prices for milk powder and butter slid amid concern about the outlook for commodities. More>>

ALSO:

Houston, We Have An Air Route: Air New Zealand To Fly Direct To The Heart Of Texas

Air New Zealand will fly its completely refitted Boeing 777-200 aircraft between Auckland and Houston up to five times a week opening up the state of Texas as well as popular nearby tourist states such as Louisiana and Florida. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Reserve Bank’s Spencer Calls On Govt To Rethink Housing Tax

The Reserve Bank has urged the government to take another look at a capital gains tax on investment in housing, allow increased high-density development and cut red tape for planning consents to address an over-heated Auckland property market. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news