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 Team Behind Trump's Throne

Forget the Putin factor. Daily, the team of charlatans, bigots and stunningly ignorant crackpots that Trump is appointing to head key federal agencies is just as alarming. These are positions with vast power and budgetary discretion over policies that stand to affect tens of millions of vulnerable Americans. Sad! More>>

 

Gordon Campbell: On Bill English, Abroad

If David Cameron was the closest thing John Key had to a political mentor, their successors also share a whole lot in common. Theresa May and Bill English were both propelled into the top jobs as the result of unexpected resignations, and without much in the way of credible competition from their colleagues... More>>

ALSO:

Pike River: Labour Bill To Override Safety Act For Mine Entry

“Bill English has been hiding behind the legal excuse that any attempt to re-enter the mine to recover the bodies might place the mine’s owner, Solid Energy Limited, and its directors in breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Populism And Labour 2017

For many people on the centre-left, populism is a dirty word, and a shorthand for the politics of bigotry. In this country, it has tended to be equated with the angry legions of New Zealand First. Who knew they were not just a reactionary spasm, but the wave of the future? More>>

Oxfam: 30% Of NZ Owns Less Wealth Than Our Two Richest Men

The research also reveals that the richest one per cent have 20 per cent of the wealth in New Zealand, while 90 per cent of the population owns less than half of the nation’s wealth. The research forms part of a global report released to coincide with this week’s annual meeting of political and business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. More>>

ALSO:

Hospitals: Resident Doctors Set To Strike Again

Despite discussions between the DHBs and NZRDA over safer hours for resident doctors progressing during the last week, the strike planned for next week appears set to proceed. More>>

ALSO:

Not So Super Fund: More Burning Ethical Questions For Steven Joyce

Greens: Radio New Zealand reported this morning that the New Zealand Superfund has $77 million invested in 47 coal companies that the Norwegian Government’s Pension Fund – the largest sovereign fund in the world – has blacklisted. More>>

Activism: Greenpeace Intercepts World’s Biggest Seismic Oil Ship

Greenpeace crew have made contact with the world’s biggest seismic oil ship after travelling 50 nautical miles on two rigid-hulled inflatables off the coast of Wairarapa... Greenpeace radioed the master of the Amazon Warrior to deliver an open letter of protest signed by over 60,000 New Zealanders. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: Why Tax Cuts In 2017 Would Be A (Proven) Bad Idea

Ever since the world fell prey to the mullahs of the free market in the 1980s, no amount of real world evidence has managed dispel one key tenet of their economic faith. Namely, the idea that if you cut income taxes and taxes on small business, a wave of individual enterprise and entrepreneurial energy will thus be unleashed, profits will rise and – hey bingo! – the tax cuts will soon be paying for themselves ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
More RSS  RSS
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news