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China FTA update should not repeat TPPA mistakes

The Green Party is calling on the National Government to negotiate any changes to the free trade agreement (FTA) with China with greater transparency than it showed with the TPPA, and not weaken the protection of our strategic assets.

Talks to update the China FTA will start early next year and there is a risk the current National Government will give away too much, in return for greater access for our agricultural commodities.

“Better access to Chinese markets is good for New Zealand businesses but it should not come at the cost of New Zealand ownership of our strategic assets, like our land and businesses,” said Green Party trade spokesperson Barry Coates.

“We want National to negotiate a China FTA upgrade in an open and transparent way — one that involves public input and parliamentary scrutiny.

“The secrecy surrounding the failed TPPA was wrong and undermined the trust New Zealanders should have in our trade negotiations.

“China may also demand that New Zealand takes a lead role in promoting the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) free-trade agreement which could include some of the worst aspects of the TPPA, including restrictions like investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) clauses.

“The RCEP is yet another potentially damaging trade agreement which the National Government is negotiating in secret.

“The Green Party in Government would negotiate trade agreements with high transparency, releasing any new trade proposals to the public after each round of negotiations, like they do in Europe.

“Trade needs to work in everybody’s interests, not just those of big states and multinational corporations,” said Mr Coates.