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Trans-Pacific trade agreement puts ZESPRI at risk

Trans-Pacific trade agreement puts ZESPRI at risk

Behind-doors negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement could sacrifice single seller organisations like ZESPRI for no clear advantages in return, the Green Party said today.

“John Key needs to give an assurance before the election that he won’t sacrifice ZESPRI in the negotiations for the Trans-Pacific trade agreement,” said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman.

“Single seller entities like ZESPRI are one of the best ways for a small exporting nation to sell our products to the world. However, single seller entities are also a natural target in the current trade negotiations.

“John Key needs to assure New Zealanders before the election that single seller entities like ZESPRI will be protected.”

Dr Norman visited ZESPRI headquarters in Mount Maunganui in the Bay of Plenty on Monday

“ZESPRI officials made it clear to me that maintaining a single seller desk was critical for the viability of the kiwifruit industry especially in light of the PSA disaster,” said Dr Norman.

“There are no kiwifruit tariff barriers with any of the countries currently negotiating the TPP so there is nothing to gain from these negotiations for the industry.

“Using single seller entities to grow the industry – creating jobs and income – is a smart economic plan that the Trans-Pacific free trade deal threatens to kill,” said Dr Norman

The United States have publicly stated, in relation to TPP negotiations, that they want to ensure “state-owned enterprises compete fairly with private companies and do not distort competition in ways that put US companies and workers at a disadvantage”.

“Our state-owned enterprises are key players in our small economy. It makes sense that we use them to coordinate our drive into new export markets such as clean energy,” said Dr Norman

“The US position is about limiting the competitive potential of our state-owned enterprises. They are going to use their huge negotiating power to limit our ability to coordinate our economy in a way that works for us rather than for large US companies.

“New Zealand needs to protect our ability to organise our economy in the most effective way to secure a prosperous economy that works for everyone. If that includes using economies of scale, either through single seller entities or SOEs to maximise our export earnings, then we can’t afford to trade away that ability behind closed doors.”

Green Party’s plan to refocus our SOEs to export renewable energy solutions: http://www.greens.org.nz/greenjobs

Link to White House quote on state-owned enterprises: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/11/12/fact-sheet-united-states-trans-pacific-partnership

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