Govt talking up '$4b' worth of benefits as details of TPP deal released

Lesley Deverall,
Publish Date
Wed, 21 Feb 2018, 1:43PM

Govt talking up '$4b' worth of benefits as details of TPP deal released

Lesley Deverall,
Publish Date
Wed, 21 Feb 2018, 1:43PM

UPDATE 2.30PM: The Government is talking up the benefits of the revised Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal after it unveiled details of the updated agreement on Wednesday.

The full details of the revised agreement have been released and New Zealand's trade department says the economy will grow by as much as $4 billion thanks to the deal.

Trade Minister David Parker says the new deal preserves this country's sovereignty and boosts our economy.

"I have no doubt that when you have a trade agre with Japan, the third largest economy in the world, and Canada - just about there - and Mexico there significant economic benefits for our country."

More than 20 areas of contention from the old agreement when the United States was involved have been suspended.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade's estimates, the deal is expected to produce between a $1.2b and $4b boost to New Zealand's real GDP - adding up to 1 per cent onto the value of the economy.

The dairy industry alone is expected to save nearly $86 million in tariffs and the country's exporters would save about $200m in reduced tariffs to just Japan once the reductions are fully implemented.

"The reasons for New Zealand becoming a party to the CPTPP are both economic and strategic," MFAT said.

"(It) would provide significant benefits for New Zealand goods exporters across a range of sectors."

ExportNZ said exporters appreciated the progress made towards signing the CPTPP and the transparency around the final version of the agreement.

Executive director Catherine Beard said the agreement had successfully dealt with some remaining public concerns about investor dispute settlement, intellectual property protection and the operation of Pharmac.

"At the same time, core elements of the deal around tariff reduction and non-tariff barriers have been retained," Beard said.

The agreement represented significant additional income and opportunity for exporters, which would also lead to new jobs - many of which will be in the regions, for example in dairy, horticulture, seafood, meat processing, and timber.

"New Zealand being part of the CPTPP agreement will ensure our businesses are competitive and have access to markets on a level playing field, not only with regard to our goods exports but also with regard to services," she said.

"Our businesses will be able to win business on the basis of the quality of their goods or services and not be disadvantaged due to tariff and non-tariff barriers.

"With the likelihood of the CPTPPP coming into force this year, we look forward to ongoing trade gains thereafter."

Following the withdrawal of the United States from the original TPP pact in early 2017, the remaining 11 member countries - including New Zealand - reached a new agreement in January.

It's now called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific partnership (CPTPP). Delays in releasing the text to the public have been blamed on translation disputes between members.

The original deal was met with heavy protest and MFAT was on Wednesday keen to point out the "significant differences" between the two deals - particularly in areas of controversy.

The changes since the original agreement include a "significant" narrowing of the much maligned Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) clauses - that allow companies to sue governments over policies, MFAT said.

"Overall the safeguards mean New Zealand's government cannot be successfully sued for measures related to public education, health and other social services."

Among the 22 other changes are the introduction of full protection for government drug-buying agency Pharmac, dropping extension to copyright and patent lengths, and a clause ensuring government procurement isn't affected.

The deal also included protections for the unique status of the Treaty of Waitangi and consultation with Maori was still ongoing, the department said.

Depending on the legal procedures of other member countries, the deal could come into force by the end of the year, it said.

The original deal was a major policy goal for the previous National government, and was put on ice before undergoing new talks when United States president Donald Trump withdrew his country.

The Labour Party attempted to renegotiate some of its more controversial elements in November. Government support partner the Green Party still opposes the deal despite the changes, saying the ISDS clauses have only been "suspended" and could be returned if the US rejoins the deal.

The CPTPP is made up of: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

- additional reporting, NZN