Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


GATT Watchdog Outraged: Singapore Trade Agreement

GATT Watchdog Outraged at Indecent Haste To Sneak Singapore Agreement Through


While attention has focussed on the Parliamentary play-fight between Helen Clark and Jenny Shipley over the Singapore free trade and investment agreement the Government is trying to quietly and swiftly sneak the deal through, reneging on earlier statements that the public will be able to have any real input on the agreement, says GATT Watchdog.

GATT Watchdog learnt yesterday that Trade Minister Jim Sutton will give evidence this morning (Thursday 14 September) on the "closer economic partnership" with Singapore to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee which will consider the process for a select committee hearing on the agreement.

"We understand that the call for submissions will go out tomorrow, with a ten-day deadline. This government says it believes in "free and fair trade". It says it believes in ‘open government’. Its actions show that it really doesn’t give a damn about free, fair and informed debate on the issues," said Aziz Choudry of GATT Watchdog.

"Pursuant to a February 2000 Cabinet memo, the Select Committee must report to Parliament within 15 sitting days. The 1999 review of sessional orders said that 15 sitting days should be a MINIMUM time for a committee examination. The equivalent committee in Australia also has a 15 sitting day MINIMUM."

"This is in clear breach of the understanding given by Mr Sutton about the process surrounding this agreement. It would set a dangerous precedent for the consideration of future international agreements. Given that the Closer Economic Partnership with Singapore (CEP) is seen as a step towards a possible trade and investment agreement encompassing New Zealand, Australia and South East Asia, that is very disturbing."

"There is absolutely no justification for this indecent haste. The Singapore agreement is not due to come into effect till January 1 2001."

"Jim Sutton recently told journalists ‘There is a high degree of public interest in this agreement. I am delighted that MPs and the public will now have an opportunity to have their say on it.’. Now Mr Sutton and co are thumbing their noses at the public and any MPs who want an opportunity to reconsider this agreement which has been negotiated in secrecy", said Mr Choudry.

"The text of the CEP was only made available on Monday. It is 182 pages long with an 8-page National Interest Analysis. To expect people to obtain, read, analyse, digest, write and deliver submissions on this important agreement in a ten day period is outrageous and insulting."

"People need an appropriate amount of time to consider the contents of the agreement and its implications. Anything less than a month is just not good enough - even if the Trade Minister was to personally deliver a copy of the text of the agreement to every household in the country"

"We suspect Mr Sutton and Ms Clark want this deal stitched up so they can announce it with great fanfare around the time of November’s APEC Summit in Brunei. With APEC in virtual paralysis and the WTO reeling from failure to launch a new round of global trade talks in Seattle last year, both governments see the agreement as a way to symbolically put some "ooomph" back into international trade and investment liberalisation."

"Like its predecessors, this government is petrified of any genuine contest of ideas about free trade. Foreign Affairs and Trade officials did not want a repeat of the 1997/8 hui held to "consult" Maori at which the Multilateral Agreement on Investment was solidly rejected. With the failure of free trade and investment policies to deliver the promised benefits to the majority of New Zealanders, and this week’s mass mobilisations against the global free market economy outside the World Economic Forum in Melbourne fresh in many people’s minds, it aims to sneak this through and avoid further controversy. It must be stopped."

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Scoop Images:
Dame Patsy Reddy Sworn In As Governor-General

This morning Dame Patsy Reddy was sworn in as the New Zealand Realm’s 21st Governor-General. The ceremony began with a pōwhiri to welcome Dame Patsy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne to Parliament. More>>

ALSO:

Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>

ALSO:

With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>

ALSO:

Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>

ALSO:

Wellington: Predator Free Capital Plan

Wellington City Council (WCC), the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) and NEXT Foundation, today announced a joint collaboration to make Wellington the first Predator Free capital city in the world. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Judith Collins’ Efforts At Self Correction

Thousands of prisoners currently in prison may be entitled to an earlier release than expected – and compensation – because Corrections has incorrectly calculated their term of imprisonment. Unless of course, the government buries its mistakes by changing the law and retro-actively getting itself off the hook… More>>

ALSO:

More Justice & Corrections

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news