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National, Labour must re-evaluate FTA obsession


21 December 2010

National and Labour must re-evaluate their obsession with FTAs

The economic value of Free Trade deals such as the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement should be greeted with scepticism after recent revelations, Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman said today.

A US embassy cable released by WikiLeaks shows New Zealand's chief trade negotiator considers New Zealand has little to gain from a free-trade agreement involving the United States. And a recently released report from the Australian Productivity Commission poured cold water on regional trade deals by finding that they are of little economic benefit.

“The Australian Productivity Commission is one of the most authoritative economic institutions in Australasia and has been lauded by John Key’s Government as a model for New Zealand.

“The Commission are saying that regional preferential trade deals like the TPP are of little economic value to Australia and that the benefits are routinely oversold.

“Recently released WikiLeaks documents back this view up,” said Dr Norman.

The Australian Productivity Commission found that government funded economic modelling of the impacts of trade deals has produced ‘overly optimistic expectations of the likely economic benefits’.

“New Zealanders have been told by National and Labour politicians that deals such as the TPP will produce tremendous wealth for our region,” said Dr Norman.

“The Australian Productivity Commission report and the leaked WikiLeaks cables suggest these benefits have been over-hyped.

“The Commission also recommended against including investor-state disputes provisions into trade agreements.

“Investor-state disputes mechanisms allow corporations to sue governments if they don’t like their laws. The Commission found that such provisions give preferential treatment to foreign businesses over domestic business.

“Moreover they can have the effect of impacting on a country’s economic sovereignty,” said Dr Norman.

“New Zealand Government’s should be making laws for New Zealander’s not for the good of trans-national corporations.”

ENDS

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