TPP GREEN LIGHT: NEGOTIATIONS COULD BE OVER IN TWO MONTHS
By Richard Harman (author)
It looks like a green light at last for the Trans Pacific Partnership which could well be law by the end of the year.
Both Foreign Minister Murray McCully and Trade Minister Tim Groser believe the Trans Pacific Partnership fast track authority will now be signed into law by President Obama.
Then, as Mr Groser says, the serious negotiations can begin.
Speaking yesterday he said that Japan and Canada had not so far presented their “best offers” on dairy access but that would now happen soon after the President signed the authority.
Mr Groser and Mr McCully’s comments came after overnight news from Washington which reported that the Senate had approved the Bill to give the President the authority.
“Even the most ardent trade critics are reversing course and backing a bill designed to help workers who lose their jobs because of globalization,” it said.
That second leg of the trade bills package means that President Obama will be able to sign the TPP authority without going to war with his fellow Democrats.
In Wellington, before Parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defence Select Committee, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Deputy Secretary with responsibility for trade negotiations, David Walker, said he expected that the Bill would be signed into USD laws within 10 days.
Mr Walker said it was a very important development for the TPP because in order to move into the concluding phase of the negotiations the participants needed to see that the US Congress would grant the President the Authority to sign the agreement.
The outstanding negotiations are largely centred round Japan and Canada and include their rigid protectionism against dairy products.
“The participants will now look to move into the phase to try and conclude the negotiation as quickly as that can be done and we’d be looking to see that that could be done within the next couple of months.”
Mr Walker said that as far as Pharmacy was concerned, the Government had made it clear that it would not negotiate away the fundamentals of the health system and the fundamentals of the way that Pharmac operates.
“That is the position that we are holding to in the negotiations,” he said.