CTU MEDIA RELEASE 23 September 2008
CTU cautious about trade talks with U.S.
The Council of Trade Unions said today that the announcement of negotiations for full inclusion of the USA in the P4 is a hugely significant trade development.
Peter Conway, CTU Economist said that "clearly there are major potential benefits for New Zealand in tariff-free entry of exports into the U.S. market. Also it is likely that government procurement by the U.S. would be more favourable towards New Zealand".
However there are considerable risks in any negotiation with the USA, he said.
"Pharmac will come under pressure as will screening of investments over $100 million and the ability of the Government to refuse overseas investment in strategic assets. In addition, investor state arbitration rules could allow U.S. companies to sue the New Zealand government for new regulations."
"Some public services could be under pressure to be opened up to private competition."
"The CTU has been in discussions with our counterpart in the USA, the AFL-CIO, and we know that the USA will take a strong stance on labour rights. However, it is important that all the details of the negotiations are carefully analysed and should be subject to full parliamentary scrutiny," Peter Conway said.