An agreement has been reached by the twelve countries that have been negotiating the Trans Pacific Partnership. Details will be advised later today but bits are already known.
NZ Herald: Trans Pacific Partnership a done deal
The 12 countries negotiating the Trans Pacific Partnership initiated by New Zealand have struck a deal after five years of intense negotiation.
The deal was announced just after 2 am this morning NZ time after a marathon session in Atlanta where talks on dairy continued right up to the wire, Trade Minister Tim Groser told the Herald from Atlanta this morning.
Mr Groser is very upbeat about the overall result, which will be published later today, but less so on dairy.
“You’d have to day from a New Zealand point of view, it just reflects the view that finally, against the combined might of Canada, Japan and the United States they just couldn’t bring themselves to more fully liberalise their dairy sectors.”
Dairy was always going to be difficult but presumably things won’t be worse, just not a lot better than they are now. That’s a shame but it won’t be for lack of trying by the New Zealand negotiators.
But one surprising element that should please critics is that tobacco companies will be specifically banned from taking cases under the Investor State Disputes Procedures.
And the ISDS clauses apply only to investments in New Zealand.
Investor State Disputes Procedures were a major criticism of TPP opponents.
There will be no change on the current patents for biologic medicines, although an extension on copyright by 20 years will be phased in.
Mr Groser says Pharmac’s decision-making will become more transparent and the measures will cost $4.5 million in the first year then an added $2.2 million annually.
That seems a minor cost so a fairly significant achievement, as increasing medicine costs was a major concern.
While the dairy deal was less than hoped for, he believed that within a few years, once the deal had settled in, there might be a political climate to accelerate some tariff elimination.
But there were some gains. In the United States, for example, tariffs on infant formula tariff elimination within 10 years on infant formula and on some cheese.
Where New Zealand couldn’t get elimination of tariffs, it had got quota expansion deals, although some were very modest.
On beef exports, Japan agreed to a reduction from a 38 per cent tariff to 9 per cent. That applied to all countries although Australian beef farmer, through its own FTA with Japan, had a head start.
“Outside dairy, there is only one exception and only for one market and one tariff line where we cannot say that in the long run, no matter how long it takes, we have complete free trade for everything New Zealand exports, which is quite a big statement to be able to make.”
The PR campaign by the Government is apparently ready to go. And the criticisms that have been going on for years will certainly continue.
From the Office of the US Trade Representative: Summary of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement