A new (vague) campaign for ‘a 21st century trade agenda’

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) started to come into affect at the end of last year – see Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement has started to take effect.

One of the most prominent anti-TPPA campaigners has taken a new tack, convening a hui to look at this year’s agenda.

Jane Kelsey (The Daily Blog):  Launch of JusTrade.nz heralds a new campaign for a 21st century trade agenda

The website JusTrade.nz, launched this week, heralds a new forward-looking campaign for a progressive 21st century trade agenda.

The JusTrade project builds on a two-day hui in late October that debated what an alternative and progressive trade strategy for Aotearoa New Zealand should look like. The live-streaming attracted over 17,000 page views. The website carries videos and transcriptions of all ten panels.

Hui convenor, University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey, says ‘for too long we’ve been told there is no alternative to the current model, epitomised in the recently adopted Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.’

‘Today, the global trade regime faces an existential crisis. Mega-negotiations are being abandoned, delayed or pared down, and the World Trade Organization is fractured and paralysed.’

‘Critique is no longer enough. If anything is to really change, we need to step away from the existing framework and take a first-principles approach to rethinking what will work for the 21st century.’

‘A new progressive vision would see trade as driven by relationships, within our communities and with the wider world, that enable innovation, resilience and wellbeing, instead of enabling the corporations and markets that currently dominate our trade policy.’

‘The recent hui and the new website are a first step in the JusTrade project, bringing together experts on economics and business, geopolitics, te Tiriti, climate and environment, livelihoods, development, knowledge and health and wellbeing.’

The key message:

‘The message from the hui was very clear: we need to generate real alternatives that confront climate change and disruption, while supporting sustainable local businesses and jobs that pay a living wage, in a nation founded on te Tiriti o Waitangi.’

What that means is not clear at all to me. It just strings together a number of vague ideals.

While just posted this refers to a hui held in October.

The JustTrade Project

In October of 2018  a hui was convened to set out what an alternative and progressive trade strategy should look like.  The aim was to present positive and constructive approaches to achieving a new paradigm. This was the genesis of the JusTrade project.

Sponsers included the NZ Council of Trade Unions, It’s Our Future, Doctors for Healthy Trade, Oxfam, Greenpeace, the NZ Nurses Organisation, First Union, PPTA, NZEI, TEU, CAFCA and others.

Speakers include journalists Rod Oram, Bernard HickeyProfessor Jane KelseyMédecins Sans Frontièreslawyer Annette Sykes, NZCTU’s Sam Huggard and Bill Rosenberg, Greenpeace Director Russel Norman, and many more.

All contributions have been transcribed.

The hui has provided a platform for future research, advocacy and activism as we work to achieve a new paradigm for international economic relations – a paradigm that is rooted in te Tiriti o Waitangi, the needs and interests of local workers, communities and businesses, and confronts the pressing global challenges of climate change, insecurity and instability, authoritarianism, and the digital age.

Specific projects on investment, the digital economy, and climate change will be launched in 2019 to generate analysis and action that can pressure the government to deliver the promised progressive and inclusive, post-neoliberal future.

I am still unclear on what they are specifically trying to achieve.

Also Bryan Bruce: Is there a fairer way to trade?

As many of you are aware I am working on a crowd funded documentary currently titled Trade Secrets in which I investigate who really benefits from the huge international agreements we have been entering into and ask the very same question the JustTrade site seeks to answer: Is there a better, fairer , more progressive way to trade ?

I suspect the documentary will have a certain slant.