Protests outside TPP talks
Mon, 03 Dec 2012 12:25p.m.
By Alex O'Hara
Negotiators from 11 countries are gathering in Auckland this morning for the 15th round of the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks.
For a week-and-a-half they'll work towards establishing an Asia-Pacific free trade deal.
But protesters say these negotiations are too secretive and are being driven by large US corporations.
As the talks at Sky City began this morning, protesters made themselves heard outside.
"I'd like to see the text at least out in open," says First Union retail secretary Maxine Gay. "If this is such a great deal why does it have to be so secret?"
Eleven countries are involved in the talks - the US, Australia, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia, Chile, Peru, and for the first time Mexico and Canada.
But critics say these talks are being driven by large US corporations who want a firmer grip on intellectual property.
"The track record of US free trade deals show they are done in the interests of US companies, not in the interests of other countries let alone the interests of our people in the future," says Prof Jane Kelsey of Auckland University.
But the Government says a deal could be a billion-dollar boost for our economy.
"It's going to be big," says Trade Negotiations Minister Tim Groser. "It's going to be significant and it's going to help New Zealanders find well-paid jobs."
An agreement is thought to still be some way off though, despite two years of negotiations.
"For us to get a deal that is acceptable for us, the United States is going to have to give up what's important to some of their politicians -mainly agriculture protectionism and subsidies," says political commentator Matthew Hooten.
"Now that's a big call for the United States."
This latest round of talks will last one-and-a-half weeks, and protestors are planning to voice their concerns the whole time.
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5/12/2012 2:12:47 p.m.
Mike, we dont have a free trade deal with China, its just a slight percentage cut in tariffs. The only free trade operating in the world is between members of the EU, they cut out everybody else. We will get nothing from America. Any tarriff reduction wont be before 2025.
4/12/2012 8:03:36 a.m.
How does free trade work? We have some claiming there is no free trade in the world.Take Fonterra selling on the world market. They put product up for auction and it sells at the price the world is willing to pay. Thats FREE TRADE to anyone but with brain. That FREE TRADE has also made NZ the most efficient dairy producer in the world while others have gone the subsidies route for greed and sloth.Free Trade does work, if not for the anti-trade lobbies trying to protect their only little empires. We have some demanding higher wages for no productivity gains, and thats not sustainable. We have parties runing govts on borrow today, and borrow tommorrow and ever after - thats not sustainable.Free trade works. If somehting is priced highly, it encourages more to produce, which then through supply and demand reduces the price. It also encourages efficency. We have leftists saying this/that dont work when its the leftist policies stuffing them up.NZ depends on Free Trade, and around 1/2 our exports we dont set prices, ie the world does. Much of our other exports we also gained due to NZ reputation of good quality products. While we have idiots who think NZ still a primary producer, we have been moving away from selling primary products and have a lot of secondary production/manufacturing, and it the secondary production/manufacturing that has raised likes of Fonterra sales/profits.If not for politics, we would have much more exports today. We used to sell a lot to the US, but due to bigoted politics in the 80's we lost almost all of that trade, export trade that with inflation would be worth over $10 billion a year more than our current exports to the US, which would be quite useful for NZ. How many jobs did that 80's anti-US policy cost NZ?
3/12/2012 11:33:43 p.m.
@Mark When did NZ tariffs get removed?They were mostly removed back in the 1980's, ie we have almost no tariffs left to remove so your talking garbage.How can other countries who already have access to sell in NZ benefit by tariffs not being lowered any further. They wont. On the other hand NZ exports will benefit in other country markets with lowered tariffs.Its a simple equation.Currently NZ tarriffs on imports ~ 0tarriffs on NZ exports, sizable - (plenty 8-20%)With TPP:NZ tarriffs on imports - 0Tarriffs on NZ exports - lowered towards 0This is win/win for NZ. We have the anti-business idiots, that believe revenue=profit, and somehow you can tax like $1 million dollars out of $1 business dollar, and anything less than this is coprorate greed! Business give jobs, without business we have no jobs, so when the left goes out of its way to damage business, they are costing jobs and standard of living. Typically the so-called greedy businesses have profit margins of 0-3%, ie are barely surviving due to union greed demanding pay rises for everything including one of their members breaking wind instead of matching productivity. #1 cause of job losses is failure to adapt and NZ productivty is amoung the lowest in the world in many industries, and thats what losses jobs, burying heads in sand and ignoring the world.Take woolen carpet manufacture, Aus $ stronger than NZ$, Aus wages higher, and even with added freight costs Aus can export woolen carpets to NZ because NZ productivity is too low. Thats not cheap imports, but poor productivity and NZ needs to fix this.
3/12/2012 9:41:12 p.m.
I'm an American living in NZ and if there's one thing I've noticed about Kiwis it's your willingness to bend over and take it. And right now you are touching your toes. Good luck, you're gona need it.
3/12/2012 7:58:27 p.m.
Mike you and your naivety are quite adorable. Arguing a point that has already been proven countless times. Every country with a small economy such as NZ's who has signed up to these deals has ended up producing a few goods that it's own citizens can't afford whilst being flooded with cheap goods of every other nature forcing NZ businesses under. Every time Mike, you won't find an exception. National is lying, you are wrong, and there is so much proof in the world today that this is the case that I'm going to sit back right now and have a good chuckle to myself.
3/12/2012 6:13:58 p.m.
Full disclosure of all tabled agreements should be made available for public discussion before negotiations are even entered. This is so that our representative knows what he's trying to achieve rather than just swallowing it hook, line and sinker.
If Tim Groser thinks its going to benefit NZ he should be made to prove so before being able to sign off on it.
3/12/2012 5:28:17 p.m.
Just last week or two, Mr Groser was reporting that NZ stood to gain financially by $2 billion from the TPP.
In this item, that figure is now $1 billion. It's a big difference, and will amount to little once all the trade-offs (hidden costs to NZ) are accounted for.
3/12/2012 2:59:27 p.m.
So we have claims about the talks from people who aren't even there, so they manufacture scaremongering bullshit. Bit like the UN's Y2K scaremongering.Its obvious the biggest player is considered the US, but they are also the poor cousin given their economies state. If the US demands too much, then the other 10 countries will just say goodbye to the US and make a TPP of 10 countries - excluding the US.China with its economic growth is actually a bigger player than the US, and its not in the talks and we already have a free trade deal with them.Our tariffs on US goods are almost all 0%, so we already let the US corporations into NZ, so the TPP can only benefit NZ more than the current restrictions on NZ exports to the US.Our protection of copyright does need work. Even the likes of our own internet companies like Trade-Me are already heading towards US style compliance, even though NZ law lags behind. That will happen with or without TPP. If we are importing knock-off drugs cheaper, then that will be knocked on the head, but it is already illegal under WTO, and we comply with WTO better than most countries in the world. Aurthorised drug manufacture under different brands still will allow NZ to purchase most of the drugs it currently purchases for Pharmac at similar prices. NZ doesn't run farm subsidies, so TPP should see some reduction in US farm subsidies - which can only be good for NZ exports.
3/12/2012 12:51:22 p.m.
You need to get well away from calling these talk "trade" talks - they are way more than just dealing with trade - in fact those who have leaked information about the content in the USA state that only about four pages of twenty nine in totals term of reference refer to trade. This partnership is giving total power to trans-national corporations over every govenment signatory to the document.
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