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Govt looks set to repeat TPPA mistakes with RCEP

16 June 2016

Govt looks set to repeat TPPA mistakes with RCEP

The Government must learn from its mistakes with the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), not repeat them with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade deal, the Green Party said today.

RCEP is a proposed trade agreement between 14 Asian countries, Australia, and New Zealand. Negotiations were held in Auckland this week. These included a public engagement session at which Trade Minister Todd McClay and officials heard questions and concerns from organisations and business stakeholders.

“Comments from the Government suggest New Zealand is pushing to include controversial investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) clauses in RCEP, which would allow foreign corporations to sue our Government,” said Green Party trade spokesperson Kennedy Graham.

“When will the National Government learn that ISDS has gone out of fashion, so much so that the European Union now refuses to include ISDS in trade agreements?

“It was also worrying to hear MFAT officials dismiss concerns about the links between trade deals and climate change.

“Trade deals need to actively support countries to reduce climate pollution and meet their commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement.

“The Government needs to commit to much more transparency around RCEP, because so-called engagement sessions that are light on detail and heavy on spin aren’t good enough. New Zealanders have a right to know what the Government is negotiating on their behalf,” said Dr Graham.

The Green Party is hosting a briefing for media by visiting trade expert Dr Jomo Kwame Sundaram today at 4pm in the Green Party parliamentary offices, level 14, Bowen House, Lambton Quay, Wellington. All media are welcome.

Dr Jomo is an author of the widely cited Tuft’s University economic analysis of the TPPA that predicted job losses and increasing inequality. He is a former high-ranking economic advisor to the United Nations.


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