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

 


Can Obama Achieve Checkmate for TPPA by November?

13 July 2014

Can Obama Achieve Checkmate for TPPA by November?

‘The most opaque round of talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement to date ended in Ottawa yesterday. The odds of President Obama achieving his goal of a meaningful document by the APEC leaders’ summit in November hangs in the balance’, according to Professor Jane Kelsey who has been in Ottawa to observe the talks.

The twelve countries have apparently begun brainstorming the November options.

‘At their most ambitious, the leaders could announce a political deal, but provide no text’, Professor Kelsey speculated. A similar ‘agreement in principle’ was announced for the Canada EU agreement known as CETA in October 2013. ‘There is still no final treaty, which makes it impossible to assess the real impacts.’

Everything hinges on a breakthrough in the US-Japan talks on agriculture, which resume in Washington on Monday. It is likely that bilateral discussions among the TPPA’s five main agriculture players will continue when their trade ministers convene for the G20 meeting in Sydney on 19 July.

‘While everyone is blaming Japan for holding out, the US is also insisting it will only make bilateral deals on agriculture, so it can limit what it offers to different countries, notably New Zealand on dairy’.

With no breakthrough on agriculture, the leaders could do little more than update their inflated ambitions from three years ago at APEC in Honolulu, Professor Kelsey observed.

‘Whether they downgrade those expectations to fit the reality that the US, Japan and Canada are not going to deliver comprehensive market access will largely depend on whether New Zealand is prepared to admit that publicly’, she said. ‘Australia has already accepted a TPPA-lite deal, and Canada would happily follow Japan’s lead.’

Even if the US and Japan strike a deal, it is unclear whether that would be announced before America’s November mid-term elections, or even shared with the other parties.

If they do not agree, or refuse to share the outcome, the rest of the talks may remain stalled. Professor Kelsey says that ‘New Zealand has apparently refused to make political trade-offs in other areas, such as intellectual property, without a result on dairy. That is Groser’s only real bargaining chip, but it is unclear how long he can maintain that position’.

Some of those issues remain far from resolved. The Ottawa round turned the heat up in areas seen to be lagging, notably the novel text on state-owned enterprises. Yet negotiators on other controversial issues, such as environment and the annex on ‘transparency in healthcare technology’ that targets Pharmac, have not met for several rounds – presumably because they lack a political mandate.

There is a report of further ‘informal’ rounds of negotiations in September and October, including a meeting of ministers. Even if these are confirmed, the details of when and where are likely to remain a state secret to shield them from even the current minimal level of scrutiny.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Departure Speech: Governor-General’s State Farewell Luncheon

"...Unfortunately I was unable to get to the Antarctic, the Chatham Islands and the Kermadecs. A dicky heart thwarted our travel to the Antarctic; and even though I volunteered to parachute into the Kermadecs to join the Young Blake expedition, time, commitments and officials frustrated my plans to visit the Kermadecs and Chathams." More>>

ALSO:

New Research: Most Homeless People Working Or Studying

“The cost of housing has been rising without corresponding increases in income, whilst the number of state houses per capita has been in decline. Many low-income people are missing out on housing, whether we recognise them as ‘homeless’ or not. More>>

ALSO:

Post-Traynor: New Offender Info Sharing Plan

“This Bill delivers on that step-change by moving away from name-based records held by individual agencies to a shared, anchor identity based on unalterable information, such as fingerprints and facial recognition. It also gives agencies access to the drivers’ licence photo database and birth, death and marriages information." More>>

  • NZ Law Foundation - New $2M fund for research on information challenges
  • Littoral: New Ship To Deliver Enhanced Naval Capability

    Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee says the Government has approved a Ministry of Defence and New Zealand Defence Force recommendation to request tenders for a new naval ship to support littoral operations. More>>

    July:

    After King's Labour Snub: Māori Party And Kiingitanga To Work Together

    Māori Party Co-leaders Te Ururoa Flavell and Marama Fox met with Kiingitanga representatives in Wellington yesterday to discuss working together on key issues for the betterment of Māori. More>>

    ALSO:

    Waitangi Claim On Rehabilitation: The 'Justus' System For Māori Not Good Enough

    Closing statements at the Waitangi Tribunal case against Corrections called for immediate steps and a comprehensive review to address the high rate of Māori reoffending. More>>

    ALSO:

    Advice: PM Sets Rules For Ministers' Treatment Of Public Servants

    Prime Minister John Key has laid down the law about the way ministers and public servants should interact, saying ministers may not always like the advice they receive, but they must listen to it carefully, respectfully and professionally. More>>

    Gordon Campbell: On The Funding Changes In Special Needs Education, And Uber

    The plan to strip out the educational support for older “special needs” children in order to meet the existing shortfall in funding for special needs in early childhood education is so miserly and relentlessly stupid as to defy belief… More>>

    SPECIAL EDUCATION (& More):

    Online Learning Plans:

    Get More From Scoop

     

    LATEST HEADLINES

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Politics
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news