CTU Monthy Economic Bulletin 141, November 2012
The fifteenth round of negotiations of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) will take place in Auckland over the next few days (3-12 December). It is under negotiation between New Zealand, the US and nine other countries. Japan and Thailand have also shown interest but would join in the face of strong opposition in large sections of their societies.
While sometimes described as a “Free Trade Agreement”, it is much more than a trade agreement. Trade is only a small part of it. Powerful US farming interests have made it clear that they will oppose New Zealand agricultural access every step of the way. Its proponents
describe it as intruding “deep into domestic policy space”. To the extent it is about trade, it is much more about supply chains, more commonly known as international outsourcing.
Encouraging supply chains is economically and socially high-risk; encouraging them while reducing employment and welfare protections, and without strategies to replace lost jobs with good quality new ones is a recipe for disaster as our last three decades have shown.
The TPPA is a hugely complex proposal, and getting more so as time goes on with (mainly) the US putting more and more on the table. Some of the more important areas include State Owned Enterprises, Investment, Intellectual Property, Financial Services, public insurance
services and postal services, temporary entry for work, pro-market regulation, Transparency, Government Procurement, biosecurity and other border controls, Labour rights, Environment, Competition, and Disputes. It will impact directly on health, medicine prices, food labelling, and many other aspects of our lives. The primary country making demands in most of these areas is the US, and if you bear in mind that its government is driven by the wishes of its corporations to break open markets such as through supply chains, its aims are easier to understand.
Full Report: CTU Monthly Economic Bulletin 141 November 2012.pdf