The state of play with TPPA
- The original Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement was signed by the 12 negotiating parties in Auckland on 4 February 2016, in the face of a massive protest led by tangata whenua.
- Japan and NZ completed their domestic processes to ratify (adopt) the original agreement during 2016.
- In January 2017 US President Trump withdrew the US’s participation from the TPPA.
- The 11 remaining countries met 7 times in 2017 to rescue the TPPA minus the US.
Each country tabled a list of provisions in the TPPA that it wanted removed or suspended. Apparently, NZ under the National government did table a list of requests, but that remains secret. The new Labour-NZ First government, supported by Greens, only had input into these negotiations at the very end.
Labour asked other TPPA countries to suspend the right of foreign investors to sue the NZ government in offshore tribunals over new laws and policies (investor-state dispute settlement/ISDS), but it failed.
Labour did not seek to make other changes or even suspend other provisions of concern to Maori.
- In December 2017 in Vietnam, the TPPA 11 agreed to suspend 20 items from the original text, pending the US’s re-entry; 4 matters remained to be finalised.
- In January 2018 in Tokyo the TPPA 11 announced a new deal, one year to the day from Trump’s withdrawal.
- Canada insisted that it needed changes to protect its culture sector. Reports say it also achieved changes on automobiles, although that was not on the list. These were done through side letters that remain secret.
- The TPPA-11 will contain the entire old agreement. 22 of the 1000+ original provisions have been suspended, pending US re-entry, but they have not been removed.
- The TPPA has been rebranded the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement on Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP or TPPA-11) even though the substance is the same at the old TPPA.
- They intend to sign the TPPA-11 agreement in Chile on 8 March 2018.
- The text of what they agreed remains secret. Japanese officials say the text will not be released until after it has been signed. The National Opposition, which ran the secretive negotiations, wants the text released.
- In January 2018 President Trump said he would consider re-entering the TPPA, but the terms would have to be more favourable to the US than the original agreement.
- The process for US re-entry will require consensus. Labour says some suspended items may never be re-activated. But the US domestic political processes mean any US re-entry will inevitably require more benefits to the US, not less.
- The TPPA-11 will reportedly come into force after 6 of the 11 parties have ratified it by completing their domestic processes. Again, the actual text of this provision has not been released.
The new government and the TPPA
- Labour, New Zealand First and the Greens all wrote dissents to the majority select committee report on the TPPA and said they would not support its ratification.
- Labour said the economic modelling was flawed and there must be a robust cost benefit analysis that includes impacts on jobs and on distribution, as well as a health impact assessment. Neither report has been done for the TPPA-11.
- Labour now claims the new TPPA-11 meets Labour’s 5 pre-conditions for change, but it does not: it provides market access for exporters (but it has no new economic analysis of net costs and benefits); it protects the Pharmac model for buying medicines (but the provisions are suspended not removed); the Treaty of Waitangi, the sovereign right to regulate and restrictions on foreign ownership of property are all protected (which they are not, see below).
- Winston Peters says the TPPA-11 is a very different deal from the one NZ First opposed and they will now support it. That is not true. The ISDS provisions and core protections for foreign investors that NZ First so staunchly opposed remain the same and have not even been suspended.
- Bew Zealand’s ratification of the ne TPPA-11 requires another round of submissions to the parliamentary select committee on which National has 4 of the 8 members, including the chair and deputy chair.
- If legislation is needed to implement the agreement, National has said it will vote with Labour and NZ First. The Greens remain opposed.
- So the parliamentary process is a foregone conclusion.
The Treaty of Waitangi Exception
The Treaty of Waitangi exception in the TPPA is a copy of one that was drafted in 2000 for the Singapore free trade agreement (FTA). The same exception has been rolled over in agreements since then, without any consultation with Māori, even though today’s agreements impose much greater restrictions on what governments can do.
Prime Minister Ardern says NZ ‘has an exemption that says it is always able to legislate and act to protect its obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi and that can’t be challenged by other nations’. That is not true.
Full details on the Treaty exception are here.
itsourfuture.org.nz have a petition:
Despite saying they’d refuse to support ratification of the TPPA and demanding independent economic and health analyses, and promising a new inclusive approach to trade and investment agreements, the new ‘progressive’ TPPA-11 is the same as before, with a small number of provisions suspended for now.
And yet the Government says it intends to sign the TPPA-11 in Chile on 8 March 2018.The agreed text is still secret and we can’t see it until it is signed.
The threats to our regulatory sovereignty remain the same as with the original TPPA.
So we are inviting you to sign the petition to Parliament.
In summary, the petition calls on the Government not to sign the new Agreement,
to suspend negotiations for all similar deals,
not embark on new negotiations until they have developed the inclusive and progressive approach that they promised deals, and engage fully with Maori on protecting Te Tiriti.
It also calls on the Parliament to pass new laws that exclude the rights of foreign investors to sue the government (ISDS), and to require independent impact assessments on the economy, health, human rights, the environment and climate action, and a review by the Waitangi Tribunal, prior to signing any future agreement.
Sign the petition at dontdoit.nz
We request the House of Representatives to urge the Government to reject the revised Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, now known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement on Trans-Pacific Partnership, and that the House revise the Standing Orders of the Parliament to ensure the process for negotiating and signing trade and investment agreements is more democratic, independently informed, and regularly feeds information back to the Parliament and the people.
Nationwide public meetings are still being held, see here for details. Nelson 20 Feb – Christchurch 21 Feb – Dunedin 22 Feb
The video of the Auckland meeting, with Laila Harre (former MP and Cabinet Minister), Burcu Kilic (Public Citizen organisation in the US) and Jane Kelsey (law Professor at Auckland University and TPPA analyst).