Rod Oram’s Sunday Star-Times column, as made available on Facebook, is a level-headed evaluation of the TPP:
Scant evidence so far TPP is a trade agreement for the 21st century
This column is not a ‘no’ to TPP. It is a request to our government to be much more convincing about why we should sign the trade agreement. Of the five main reasons it has given so far two are weak, two debatable and one unproven.
First, tariffs. The government talks of sweeping reductions. They are indeed broad but they are so shallow they are almost meaningless. … Worse, small fluctuations in commodity prices and exchange rates will wipe out those miniscule gains. Moreover, tariff reductions will more likely benefit distributors, retailers and consumers overseas than producers here.
Second, wider economic benefits. The government says these will amount to $2.7 billion a year by 2030. Again, that’s exceedingly modest. Our current exports of goods and services to TPP countries are $28 b a year. They could double by 2030, assuming modest rates of growth and inflation. The uplift from TPP would roughly equal six months’ extra growth in exports over 15 years.
Third, writing the rules for 21st century trade. The whole nature of business, economics and trade is changing ever faster. This is often disruptive as we see with co-operative models such as open source software or collaborative ones such as Uber and Airbnb. … Thus, the TPP in summary form reads like a charter to protect incumbents rather than to promote disruptors. Don’t be fooled by the tiny ground the US drug, entertainment and tobacco industries conceded. Those exceptions could prove the rule.
Fourth, Asia-Pacific integration. TPP is supposed to be the platform for all this region’s economies. But China is missing, by design. As President Obama said when announcing the deal “we can’t let countries like China write the rules of the global economy. We should write those rules.” … China is our largest trading partner. If it falls out with the US over TPP, let’s hope it doesn’t force us to choose which camp we’re in.
Fifth, the cost to New Zealand. The government assures us it is minuscule. We will give up only $20 million a year of import tariffs; Pharmac will be unaffected; and changes to IP on drugs and other products and to copyright will have minimal adverse impact. But we don’t yet know the detail on crucial issues such as the Investor-State Dispute Settlement procedures. Nor do we know what our government has managed to get in to Chapter 29, in which each country lists its exceptions to the treaty. …
See the full article for plenty more!
Also well worth reading this from Danyl at Dimpost:
Second thoughts on the TPPA
I still can’t get over the estimations of how little this deal is worth to us. From MFAT:
- estimated GDP gains for New Zealand of US$2 billion in the year 2025 (a 0.9% increase in GDP);
- estimated export gains for New Zealand of US$4.1 billion in the year 2025 (a 6.8% increase in exports);
- and further income gains (up to US$2.1 billion) are estimated from a lift in the terms of trade and greater consumer access to goods and services.
Just to put that in perspective our GDP grew by 0.8% in the first quarter of this year. So the TPP will deliver the equivalent of a couple of months of growth in ten years time. Now, our diplomatic corps has been working on this for about ten years, and they cost us well over a quarter of a billion dollars a year. Have we spent more putting this trade partnership together than we’ll actually earn from it?
Then there are the costs from the deal itself. We don’t know whether investor state dispute mechanisms are going to be a disaster or a big nothing. We do know about the intellectual property provisions … Just about every economist alive thinks the US model is awful: anti-competitive and anti-innovation and terrible for consumers. So in this very significant way the TPP is a move away from free markets.
The whole things feels more-and-more like a bait-and-switch, just as its critics warned throughout the process. …
Once again see the original for more.