Signing up to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) with Japan but without the United States (US) will incur large costs but without many of the supposed benefits, the Green Party said today.
Prime Minister Bill English is on his way to Japan, where he will meet with other TPPA countries in an attempt to resurrect the trade deal.
“Some of the most unpopular aspects of the TPPA, like longer copyright protection and rules that affect the costs of medicines, are only there because the US insisted on them, so it makes no sense to sign up to a version of the TPPA with these rules but without the US,” said Green Party trade spokesperson Barry Coates.
“Overseas corporations will still be able to sue the New Zealand government over regulations they don’t like, as the US insisted, but the economic benefits we’ll get in return for this loss of sovereignty will be tiny.
“Even with the US on board, the Government’s inflated estimate of economic benefits from the TPPA was going to be less than one percent of GDP in 15 years’ time. Now it will be even less than that. This trade deal is simply not worth it.
“If reducing tariffs in Japan is worth it for our exporters and both countries’ economies overall, we should be looking for ways to do that without the TPPA’s costs to our healthcare system and restrictions on our ability to regulate in the public interest.
“Seventy-two percent of businesses said they didn’t think they’d see any benefits from the TPPA, in a recent survey by the Chartered Accountants. National should be doing more to support small and medium businesses at home, instead of chasing unpopular free trade deals abroad.
“Kiwi exporters would benefit more from government support for adding value to our exports, and strengthening our international clean, green brand. Trade diplomacy should focus on supporting an agreement in the World Trade Organisation to reduce the agricultural subsidies that put our farmers at a disadvantage,” Mr Coates said.