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

 


Obama's 'State of the Union' downplays TPPA

30 January 2014

For immediate release

Obama's 'State of the Union' downplays TPPA and Fast Track on Slow Burner, time to suspend the negotiations

‘If trade ministers from the countries negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) were looking for a signal from President Obama in yesterday’s State of the Union address that he was serious about cutting a deal, they will be sorely disappointed’, said Professor Jane Kelsey who is monitoring the secretive negotiations.

Obama did not even mention the TPPA by name, referring generally to ‘new trade partnerships with Europe and the Asia-Pacific’ that would help create more jobs.

And there was no rallying cry for Congress to grant him ‘fast track’ authority so other countries would have confidence to sign a deal, just a like-warm call ‘to work together on tools like bipartisan trade promotion authority’.

‘This was no oversight’, according to Kelsey. ‘There has been enormous pressure from all sides in the lead-up to this speech, and the low-profile approach is seen as a signal that Obama thinks he cannot deliver’.

The momentum has dropped away from the negotiations since a high-profile ministerial meeting in Singapore last December claimed to be close to a deal. Ministers reportedly do not want to meet again unless they can guarantee an outcome.

According to Professor Kelsey, there seem to be two barriers to concluding the negotiations. One is substantive. Unless the US and Japan can reach agreement on market access for automobiles and agriculture, no other country is prepared to make any definitive commitments. If the US and Japan can agree, the substantive deal could conclude very quickly.

The second reason is that Obama does not have Fast Track, otherwise called Trade Promotion Authority. Without that, the other eleven countries, including the already reluctant Japan, have no assurance he can deliver.

A Bill proposing Fast Track was tabled several weeks ago, without a Democrat sponsor in the House of Representatives. It has hit a number of rocks.

A principal champion in the Senate Max Baucus, who chairs the Finance Committee, has been nominated as Ambassador in China and will leave shortly.

Today, Senate Majority Leader Harry M Reid declared himself opposed Fast Track, saying ‘Everyone would be well-advised not to push this right now’. According to Politico: ‘The majority leader’s position essentially kills the president’s trade push this Congress, given that Reid controls the floor schedule.’

Members of the House of Representatives up for re-election later this year just received a letter from 500 labor, environmental and consumer advocacy groups urging them not to approve Fast Track.

‘Whatever happens between the US and Japan, there seems no prospect of Fast Track, and hence no chance of a deliverable deal before the end of the year - unless governments are going to gamble on Congressional approval of the final treaty. It is time for them to stop wasting money and formally suspend the negotiations’ said Kelsey.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell:
On The Northland By-Election

Supposedly, Winston Peters’ victory in Northland has exposed the simmering dissatisfaction with the government that exists out in the provinces. Yet it remains to be seen whether this defeat will have much significance – and not simply because if and when Labour resumes business as usual in the Northland seat at the next election, Peters’ hold on it could simply evaporate.

On Saturday, National’s electorate vote declined by 7,000 votes, as the 9,000 majority it won last September turned into a 4,000 vote deficit – mainly because Labour supporters followed the nod and wink given by Labour leader Andrew Little, and voted tactically for Peters. In the process, Labour’s vote went down from nearly 9,000 votes six months ago, to only 1,315 on Saturday. More>>

 
 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

Climate: Ministers Exclude Emissions From ‘Environment Reporting'

The National Party Government has today revealed that the national environmental report topics for this year will, incredibly, exclude New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions, the Green Party said today. More>>

ALSO:

No Retrial: Freedom At Last For Teina Pora

The Māori Party is relieved that the Privy Council has cleared the final legal hurdle for Teina Pora who was wrongfully convicted of murder and sent to prison for 22 years. More>>

ALSO:

Germanwings Crash: Privacy Act Supports Aviation Safeguards In New Zealand

Reports that German privacy laws may have contributed to the Germanwings air crash have prompted New Zealand’s Privacy Commissioner to reassure the public that the Privacy Act is no impediment to medical practitioners notifying appropriate authorities to a pilot’s health concerns. More>>

ALSO:

Treaty: Taranaki Iwi Ngāruahine Settles Treaty Claims For $67.5mln

The settlement includes a $13.5 million payment the government made in June 2013, as well as land in the Taranaki region. The settlement also includes four culturally significant sites, the Waipakari Reserve, Te Kohinga Reserve, Te Ngutu o te Manu and Te Poho o Taranaki. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Funeral In Asia, The Northland By-Election, And News Priorities

Supposedly, New Zealand’s destiny lies in Asia, and that was one of Foreign Minister Murray McCully’s rationales for his bungled reforms at MFAT. OK. So, if that’s the case why didn’t Prime Minister John Key attend the state funeral on Sunday of Singapore’s founding leader Lee Kuan Yew? More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf Satire: Not Flag-Waving; Flag-Drowning

The panel choosing the flag options has no visual artists at all. Now, I’ve kerned the odd ligature in my time and I know my recto from my French curve so I thought I’d offer a few suggestions before they get past their depth. More>>

ALSO:

IPCA Reports: Significant Problems In Police Custody

In releasing two reports today, the Independent Police Conduct Authority has highlighted a number of significant problems with the way in which Police deal with people who are detained in Police cells. More>>

ALSO:

Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security: Inquiry Into GCSB Pacific Allegations

The complaints follow recent public allegations about GCSB activities. The complaints, and these public allegations, raise wider questions regarding the collection, retention and sharing of communications data. More>>

ALSO:

TPPA Investment Leak: "NZ Surrender To US" On Corporates Suing Governments

Professor Jane Kelsey: ‘As anticipated, the deal gives foreign investors from the TPPA countries special rights, and the power to sue the government in private offshore tribunals for massive damages if new laws, or even court decisions, significantly affected their bottom line’. More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf: The Myth Of Steven Joyce

Gordon Campbell: The myth of competence that’s been woven around Steven Joyce – the Key government’s “Minister of Everything” and “Mr Fixit” – has been disseminated from high-rises to hamlets, across the country... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news