$4b boost from trade deal: Mfat


The full details of the revised Trans-Pacific Partnership trade 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.
The Government today made public the controversial 11-country free trade deal’s text, along with an analysis of its predicted effects on the economy.
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% to 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 $200 million 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.”
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 is 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 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 which 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 is not affected.
The deal also included protections for the unique status of the Treaty of Waitangi and consultation with Maori was still continuing, the ministry 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. NZN

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