Talks on TPP minus USA

In May Japan surprisingly indicated an interest in reviving the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Talks get under way in Japan this week without the US.

Donald Trump withdrew the US from the TPP as soon as he became president.

RNZ:  Japan’s change of heart on TPP good for English

The commitment of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the Trans-Pacific Partnership clearly came as a surprise to both Mr English and his Trade Minister Todd McClay.

In terms of Shinzo Abe’s sudden decision to get back on the TPP-train Mr English credits Mr McClay’s work getting around the region talking up the agreement and trying hard to convince the other remaining 10 nations that it’s worth sticking with.

It may be Mr McClay’s hard work that helped convince the Japanese, but it is also true that Japan is increasingly nervous about its rogue neighbour, North Korea.

The TPP is both a trade deal and a strategic deal and with Japan having it written into its constitution that it can’t use war as a means to settle international disputes, it needs strong allies – hence its obvious preference at having a deal which involves the United States.

Mr Abe wants the TPP text to remain as it is, which means the United States will get the benefits of the agreement even if it isn’t signed up.

But it also means it is easy enough for the United States to rejoin the grouping should it wish to in the future.

Either way the change of heart by the Japanese looked good for Mr English after his first major meeting in Asia as Prime Minister.

Now: TPP reps meet in Japan ahead of APEC

Countries that signed up to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) have sent representatives to Japan to work on an agreement this week – without the United States.

They’re hoping to have a proposal ready for trade ministers at November’s APEC meeting in Vietnam.

With continuing uncertainty over trade policy under the Trump administration in the US, there’s rising interest in how a regional trade deal might increase security.

New Zealand’s Trade Minister Todd McClay said economic and strategic benefits went hand in hand.

He said countries that traded with each other and were integrated economically were usually good friends.

“If you look over a period of time, it’s not the only reason, but often that’s why regions have been destabilised – when you don’t have that balance around opportunity and growth.”

There was more to trade and trade agreements that just people buying and selling, he said.

If there is a change in government in September I wonder if there will be a change in approach to the TPP.

One of the points of opposition to the TPP was giving concessions to the US.

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6 Comments

  1. Mefrostate

     /  July 3, 2017

    I went to an excellent presentation by MFAT on their trade agenda last week, and I think they’re doing absolutely stellar work on the NZ-EU, NZ-China & NZ-India FTAs as well as RCEP, PACER Plus and the TPP.

    The government’s TPP approach seems to be based around keeping it very similar to the currently-agreed text, so that the US finds it easy to re-join later on once they have a more sensible head. While I can see the logic, I think that remaining countries are likely to be broadly in consensus about easing up the intellectual property extensions, requirements on Pharmac, and ISDS.

    These are all ‘costs’ to NZ on the TPP benefit-cost ratio, so I think we should push to ease them now that the US is out. But if that’s overly complicated I’d still be in support of ratifying in its current version.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  July 3, 2017

      You’re a lefty, Mefro? You support the TPPA. Have I got that right?

      Reply
      • Mefrostate

         /  July 3, 2017

        Yeah I tend to land around the libertarian left on those political quizzes, but I often get called a neo-liberal on other sites. It’s part of why I think labels aren’t that helpful. People end up arguing with an inaccurate picture of what ‘the other side’ believe, and just yell past each other rather than engaging with ideas and real people.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  July 3, 2017

          I hope you’re going to hang around. You’re giving me lots of food for thought.

          Reply
        • Gezza

           /  July 3, 2017

          Left you a reply on your media balance question on the Trump thread. I might have to bow out here. Got a gig tomorrow at 11am & as usual it’s arrived without any intended practice being done & I’m fighting the inevitable nerves.

          Reply

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