Polity: Japan opposes, sinks NZ-style TPP

Written By: - Date published: 10:28 am, July 8th, 2014 - 6 comments
Categories: Economy, International, Japan, trade, us politics - Tags:

polity_square_for_lynnReposted from Polity.

Here are some excerpts from an excellent Tracy Watkins piece on Stuff today:

Prime Minister John Key and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe may sound like they are speaking the same language on trade, even if they remain miles apart on the other hot potato in the relationship, whaling.

But in reality, the gap between them may be almost as wide on both fronts…

Ahead of yesterday’s meeting, Key had suggested that if Japan’s inclusion in the TPP threatened the goal of achieving a tariff-free Asia Pacific trading bloc it should be excluded.

Abe issued a pointed reminder at the start of his press conference in Auckland yesterday that Japan is the world’s third largest economic power. As such, its inclusion gives the TPP a “strategic” edge, without which the ambitious trade agreement is unlikely to get over the line with the United States. The sub-text was that Japan gets to call the shots, not New Zealand.

Key’s reference to New Zealand being prepared to show some patience over the thorny issue of tariffs was an acknowledgement of that fact.

It also suggests that Abe’s stated desire for a comprehensive and high-quality agreement does not come without strings and that it will fall well short of New Zealand’s ideal for a “comprehensive” agreement.

And therein lies the rub. As I have posted before, New Zealand has almost no leverage in 21st century trade talks, partly because of our size and party because we gave away almost all our bargaining chips in the 1980s and 1990s. The “unilateral tariff reductions” of that time may have helped the theory-driven trade negotiators sleep easier, but they did nothing to help the next generation of negotiators get anything done.

The 12 country TPP is better thought of now as a bilateral US/Japan deal with as many hangers on as would like to hang on. The trapping are still of a 12 country deal, of course. But these things always end up with a small club huddled in a smoke-filled room, while the others sit outside in the cold. The TPP club is Barack, Shinzo, and nobody else. That’s realpolitik.

6 comments on “Polity: Japan opposes, sinks NZ-style TPP”

  1. Sable 1

    The goal of the TPP is to create a global economic network of vassal states that are there to prop up the failing US empire. Its economic imperialism pure and simple.

    The only reason Keys is on board is I believe he thinks he is running a kleptocracy not a democratic country (given what I have seen of late he may be right too). The stooges at the top hope they will get to skim off the fat through their shares in the big MNO’s who will be handed absolute control of our market if the TPP goes ahead.

  2. Tracey 2

    And the NSA have spied on everyone, so the US delegation know everyone else’s bottom lines. Even playing field? Bah. Bargaining positions being kept back? BUWAHAHAHAHA

  3. AmaKiwi 3

    Multinational corporations are far more powerful than sovereign states, which they effectively own and operate for their themselves.

    Multinationals caused the 2007-09 financial melt-down and then had their corporate colleagues in government arrange a tax-payer bailout which made the banks even more money.

    Salaries and bonuses: Corporate up-and-comers take pay cuts to go into government and make policies which benefit giant corporations. They return to the corporate world where their insider expertise reaps them huge rewards. (Like Tony Blair, you can bet John Key becomes a “corporate consultant” when he quits politics.)

    TPP is about corporate power. Japanese corporations want to protect their interests.

    Follow the money.

  4. Paul 4

    We sold our country 30 years ago.
    Little else to flog off in this new set of’ ‘trade deals’
    All we now have left are our health care and education system so watch those go under this criminal government.

  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    This is on Britain’s being in the EU and it has this to say:

    I have four specific concerns about the extent to which economic analysis of any kind can settle the issue. The first is uncertainty: when economists predict the future, a large pinch of salt is in order. Remember the hype about the single market 30 years ago? It came with promises of economic efficiency gains. If you look at data for productivity or gross domestic product, you will not be able to detect a single market effect. You see it in the trade data, but not in the bottom line macroeconomic results. So how can the departure from the single market constitute a negative shock in the future when joining it did not constitute a positive shock in the past?

    I’m pretty sure that the same would be true of NZ joining the TPP. We’ll sign away more of our sovereignty and get even less in benefits back.

  6. adam 6

    So question, The majority of USA labour unions, Ralph Nader, Noam Chomsky, TYT, RT and others are wrong in thinking TPP is another NAFT agreement which is designed to cut wages and destroy workers ability to organise throughout the pacific? It’s OK, really, it’s just a simple trade deal between the USA and Japan?

    Please tell me I read what you were saying wrong and that you analysis is not this risk adverse.

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