Chile reveals NZ to host TPP signing ceremony in Feb, Govt tight-lipped
By Edwin Mitson
Jan. 7 (BusinessDesk) - The director of Chile's economic relations bureau has said New Zealand will host the signing ceremony for the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership next month. A second country, Peru, has told Bloomberg that its Deputy Trade Minister and TPP negotiator, Edgar Vasquez, will attend the ceremony in NZ on Feb. 4.
The date and location was revealed in a statement issued by Andres Rebolledo, the director-general of Chile's General International Economic Relations Bureau, following a meeting with the country's National Human Rights Institute to discuss the impact of the TPP on human rights in Chile.
However the New Zealand government was tight-lipped. Duty minister Simon Bridges said "arrangements for the signing of the Trans Pacific Partnership are not yet confirmed, as a number of countries are still working through their domestic approval processes required before signature. Further details will be announced when and if they are confirmed."
Twelve countries agreed to the TPP deal in October following long-running negotiations. The countries involved are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.
Prominent NZ critic of the TPP, Auckland University professor Jane Kelsey, said the way details had emerged reflected badly on the government. "Consistent with the government's obsessive secrecy throughout the TPP process, we have to get confirmation of what is happening in our own country from offshore". She said reports New Zealand would host the meeting had been circulating since the APEC summit last November.
Celebrations around the signing event would be largely ceremonial. The TPP would still have to be ratified by signatories' individual parliaments before it can come into force. It must be approved by six countries as a minimum, and these countries must represent a minimum of 60 percent of the gross domestic product of the 12 members. That means either Japan or the US must sign before it comes into force.