Friday 31 July 2015

Coverage of the TPP - 07/31/2015

This may be the most significant headline.

Left to their own resources Washington's quislings from the Beehive will sign the Agreement even if it means signing way our sovereignty and walking way completely empty-handed.

There is a lot of push-back against New Zealand over dairy and Australia is also under a lot of pressure.

Will New Zealand stand up to more than the slightest US pressure. I very much doubt it.

"Greed may in the end be our saviour. There is no certainty these greedy F#### will agree on anything."
---Kevin Hester

Mostly this is a collection of media articles that ignore the selling-off of national sovereignty and decmocracy across the board.It is painted as what it is NOT - a trade pact.

Malaysia will not sign TPPA in Hawaii, says Mustapa

Malaysia will not sign TPPA in Hawaii, says Mustapa
MUSTAPA: Our objective at this meeting is to ensure that Malaysia's interests and concerns are addressed. - File pic

29 July, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will not sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) at the ministerial meeting in Hawaii from July 28-31, says Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

Mustapa, who heads the Malaysian negotiating team comprising experts from over 20 ministries and agencies, said: "The signing of the TPPA will not happen in Hawaii."

In a statement today, he said, like Malaysia, each TPPA member will need to go through its own domestic process before a final decision to sign and ratify the pact was made.

"As the minister in charge of the TPPA talks, it is my responsibility to ensure that our constitution, sovereignty and core policies of the nation, including the interests of the Bumiputera community, are safeguarded and upheld.

"Our objective at this meeting is to ensure that Malaysia's interests and concerns are addressed," he said.

He said after five years, the TPPA negotiations are nearing conclusion and at this stage countries need to make hard decisions.

"As in all negotiations there are concessions that need to be made," he said.

He said the government has taken a firm stand in the TPPA, in which the country's constitution, sovereignty and core policies such as government procurement, state-owned enterprises and the Bumiputera agenda will be safeguarded.

"I urge Malaysians to keep an open mind on the TPPA. Acknowledge that while there are costs, there are also benefits to the country," he said.

Mustapa said the feedback from all parties regarding TPPA has helped guide and influence his negotiating stance on various issues under discussion.

He said ultimately, the final document, together with the two cost-and-benefit analyses will be presented to the public and Parliament.

The decision whether to sign or reject TPPA will be a collective Malaysian decision, he said.

Mustapa said the TPPA does not prevent governments from pursuing and regulating legitimate public policy objectives, especially in areas such as national security, public health environment and welfare.

In the meantime, there are a number of safeguards being negotiated to address key concerns, including the avoidance of frivolous challenges by investors, he said.

"It is important to note that the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism is not new for Malaysia.

"We already have 74 bilateral investment treaties and eight free trade agreements (FTAs) which contain ISDS provisions," he said.

On government procurements, Mustapa said, Malaysia is safeguarding Bumiputera preferences by ensuring that the current Bumiputera and small and medium enterprise preferences are maintained.

As for capital controls, Malaysia has successfully defended the rights to ensure that there will be sufficient policy space to mitigate any destabilising effect of capital flows and preserve financial and macroeconomic stability, he said.

He said another major concern is the claim that the prices of medicines will rise astronomically as a result of stronger patent protection.

However, in reality, the patent-protection clauses in the TPPA are not that different from Malaysia's current regulations on this subject, Mustapa said.

Malaysia found that the TPPA provides it with market access to four trading partners that it no FTAs with -- US, Canada, Mexico and Peru, he said.

On Islam, Mustapa gave an assurance that nothing in the TPPA will threaten the position of it as the official religion of Malaysia and the government will never allow any FTA to undermine this constitutional provision.

On a common concern that the TPPA is being negotiated 'secretly', the minister said: "In international negotiations, the negotiating text is not normally made public. However, all the issues being negotiated have been openly discussed."

He said Malaysians will have access to the full text in the event that an agreement is reached.

If you want to know what the view of the Establishment in NZ is, read this:

Editorial: TPP without dairy access will be hollow

Trade Minister Tim Groser's tone has changed somewhat with regards to the TPP. Photo / AP

Trade Minister Tim Groser's tone has changed somewhat with regards to the TPP. Photo / AP

31 July, 2015

A gold-standard free trade agreement, so long the Government's goal for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, is not going to eventuate. This was implicit in the Prime Minister's statement that the Government would face a higher medicines bill because of the pact's provision for extended patent protection. That being so, New Zealand has the task of securing worthwhile compensation at the ministerial talks now in progress in Hawaii. Inevitably, the focus is on our dairy products gaining worthwhile access to the huge Japanese and American markets.

The signs at the start of this week were not auspicious. Trade Minister Tim Groser said New Zealand was looking for "commercially meaningful access". There was, he added, nothing on the table "that allows me to recommend to the Cabinet that we should sign the deal at this point". A few days later, the situation had become alarming enough for John Key to seek to rally support by making personal calls to the leaders of some other TPP countries.

New Zealand is having to deal with two nations that have long resisted opening their dairy industries to competition. The Americans and the Japanese fear the impact of New Zealand's large-scale and efficient production. The danger is that they will try to fob it off with access that is limited and won't take effect for a long time.

New Zealand's negotiations have been further complicated by the head of steam engendered by President Barack Obama's securing of fast-track approval for the TPP from Congress. The negotiations in Hawaii are widely viewed as being the final stage before the signing of the 12-nation pact.

This has emboldened Japan to suggest matters should not be put at risk by laggards. It has said that if countries are not prepared to reach an agreement during the current talks, they should be cut adrift, with an option to join the TPP later.

That is more than a little rich coming from a country with Japan's protectionist instinct and history. It also hints at a discouraging unwillingness to compromise. Nonetheless, its view and Mr Obama's wish for the agreement to be passed by Congress before next year's presidential election put pressure on the negotiations. The Government is highly unlikely to walk away with only the notion that New Zealand might be able to join at some future date. It will want to get in on the ground floor, a view alluded to by the Prime Minister when he noted the pact would encompass 40 per cent of the world's economy.

For a long time, Mr Key and Mr Groser emphasised that high-quality and comprehensive dairy access must be part of the TPP. Now, the tone has changed somewhat. The Prime Minister is stressing the increased prosperity and wealth creation opportunities that will flow from being part of it. It would now be extremely difficult for New Zealand to walk away from a pact that it played such a large role in creating and which now involves so many Pacific Rim nations. But if the gains for dairy exports turn out to be extremely limited, the TPP will have a hollow ring.

Canadian farmers: 'Why should we pay?'
Canadian dairy farmers say they will never agree to New Zealand's request to open up their markets as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership because that would jeopardise their livelihoods.

Dairy cows on farm, Japan
Photo: AFP

31 July, 2015

A group representing New Zealand's dairy industry has said the deal on offer is appallingly bad and New Zealand should walk away if the other countries refused to do better.

Ministers from the 12 countries involved in the TPP talks are meeting in Hawaii to try to conclude the deal after years of negotiations.

The director of international trade for Dairy Farmers of Canada Yves Leduc told Morning Report he had sympathy for New Zealand farmers hard-hit by the global downturn in milk prices.

The TPP - a guide for the perplexed
But he said if Canada was to completely open up its market, there would be an influx of heavily subsidised dairy products from the United States.

That would reduce Canadian farmers' incomes and may result in job losses in the processing sector.

"So why would I pay to save the New Zealand model?"

Mr Leduc said Canada's supply management system protected its farmers against the boom-and-bust cycle of world markets.

The chairman of New Zealand's Dairy Companies Association chairman Malcolm Bailey told Morning Report the United States, Canada and Japan are stonewalling New Zealand's bid for better access to their dairy markets.

"At this stage there is no way we can contemplate doing a deal overall for New Zealand here because dairy is our number one export

"If we can't get something reasonable for dairy it's just unthinkable for New Zealand to conclude here."

Mr Bailey, who's in Hawaii to observe the talks, said high level political pressure was needed to turn things around.

TPP negotiations among 12 Asia-Pacific countries to cut tariffs and improve access to markets began in 2006. The talks are also seeking common ground on issues such as environmental standards and intellectual property protections.

PERMISSIONS TPP: US holds out on dairy, stalling deal

Trade Minister Andrew Robb attended the recent TPP meeting in Hawaii.

Trade Minister Andrew Robb attended the recent TPP meeting in Hawaii. MARCO GARCIA

31 July, 2015

Progress on a potential major Pacific Rim trade and investment agreement appears to be stumbling as the United States holds out on opening up its protected dairy sector, frustrating a push by Australia and New Zealand to sell more milk, cheese and butter into the lucrative American market.

Participants at a crucial meeting in Hawaii are becoming less confident that trade ministers will strike a conclusive deal by Friday's deadline because of differences over market access for agriculture, according to trade professionals in Maui close to the talks.

Trade ministers from 12 countries, including Australia, Japan, Canada, Mexico and Peru, arrived on the island of Maui this week, talking up the prospects of an historic deal on the mooted Trans-Pacific Partnership covering 40 per cent of the world economy.

As expected, cutting US import limits for Australian sugar and stronger intellectual property rights for American-designed medicines remain key sticking points after two days of negotiations between trade ministers.

Officials and industry groups attending the meeting said on Wednesday in Maui that the TPP talks were "intense", with several conceding they were not progressing as smoothly as hoped.

One person close to the talks said progress had taken a "backwards step on some issues", while a foreign trade official said progress on market access for agriculture had "stalled".

New Zealand is believed to have been particularly upset at the US failure to cut tariffs and quotas for Kiwi dairy farmers such as national champion Fonterra. Australian industry is understood to share similar concerns, amid a complex standoff on dairy between the four big countries of the US, Canada, Japan and Mexico.

The 12 TPP countries believe clinching an in-principle agreement this week is vital, because further delays risk talks dragging into the Canadian election in October and US presidential and congressional elections next year.

Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb said he was "70 to 80 per cent confident" a deal could be concluded this week, saying compromise was required.

"A satisfactory dairy conclusion amongst several countries is still the elephant in the room," Mr Robb said, listing the US, Canada, Mexico and Japan as the key players.

Canada more open to dairy imports

Somewhat promisingly, Canada has belatedly begun talking about steps to open up its protected supply management system that shuts out foreign dairy. It was originally hoped such a move could smooth the way for the US to open up its dairy market for other countries, but now the US appears to be being less co-operative.

Access to Canada for Australian dairy farmers would be welcomed, but local industry sees the much larger US market as the big potential prize because its population of 320 million people is about 10 times larger than Canada's.

Underlining the complex trade-offs in the negotiations, the Obama administration is pressuring Australia and other countries to grant longer patent protection for US-designed medicine data, known as biologics. Japanese press reported the US had cut its demand to 10 years, from 12 years. Australia is worried extending the patent from the current five years will increase the cost of drugs under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

The powerful Republican chairman of the US Senate finance committee, Orrin Hatch, said this week it was "very unlikely" he could support a final TPP deal without 12 years of data protection for biological drugs.

An industry representative positioned on the sidelines of the talks at the Westin hotel in Maui said there was a distinct feeling that the talks were proving to be "challenging". "I think everyone came here with a lot of optimism and a sense that is was going to be done, but that's probably a little lower now than at the outset," the representative said.

Meanwhile, the Australian sugar industry is pressing the government to lobby the US for local cane growers to partially fill a US domestic shortage of three to four million tonnes a year.

CANEGROWERS head of economics Warren Males said from Maui that "there were really strong reasons for the US to take a leadership role on sugar".

Currently, Australia is only allowed to sell a relatively paltry 87,000 tonnes into the US after failing to get better access in the 2004 free trade agreement signed by prime minister John Howard and president George W Bush.

Mr Robb, under pressure from Queensland National Party MPs, has vowed that Australia will not sign up to a deal without a meaningful offer from the US on sugar.

"If I don't get some reasonable movement on sugar…sugar, biologics and ISDS [investor-state dispute settlement] are showstoppers for us," Mr Robb said.

Reuters reported Mr Robb saying in Maui that ministers were considering a forum to prevent currency manipulation, a compromise between the currency manipulation hardliners in the US Congress and Asian opponents who won't accept any action on currency in the TPP.

Of NZ media only Scoop has been doing any real coverage of what amounts to the real issue at hand - the sell-off of New Zealand's sovereignty

Scoop Coverage: TPP Maui Negotiations and Revelations

31 July, 2015

While rapid change is always possible in trade talks as they approach the deadline, lets assume that the offers on the table for dairy at the TPP talks in Maui won’t improve much beyond the “appallingly bad” level currently being lamented by New Zealand dairy industry participants. What is Plan B now for New Zealand? As tactical partners to date, New Zealand and Australia have found some common ground in stalling on the patent terms for medicines, particularly in the expensive, cutting edge realm of “biologics” treatments.
New Zealand has been stalling on the medicines and IP provisions in general, to try and prise that better deal on dairy from Japan, the US and Canada – while Australia has taken the same obstructive line in order to leverage better access for its sugar exports to the US domestic market. Dream on.More>>

Half Empty: Gordon Campbell On D-Day For Dairy At The TPP

While New Zealand may feel flattered at being called “the Saudi Arabia of milk” it would be more accurate to regard us as the suicide bombers of free trade... More>>
Leaked Letter: Severe Restrictions on State Owned Enterprises
Even an SOE that exists to fulfil a public function neglected by the market or which is a natural monopoly would nevertheless be forced to act "on the basis of commercial considerations" and would be prohibited from discriminating in favour of local businesses in purchases and sales. Foreign companies would be given standing to sue SOEs in domestic courts for perceived departures from the strictures of the TPP... 
In Parliament: The Māori Party Stands Firmly Opposed To The TPPA
Mounting concerns about the impact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement on tangata whenua are shared by the Māori Party Co-leaders Marama Fox and Te Ururoa Flavell, as final negotiations continue in Hawaii. 
So, on the eve of the last round of talks meant to finalise the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal, Prime Minister John Key has conceded that yes New Zealand will probably have to pay more for medicines under the TPP.
This is exactly what TPP critics have been warning for nearly four years, while being fobbed off as alarmists for doing so. Key’s belated concession contradicts assurances given only last October by Trade Minister Tim Groser... More>>


At a press conference today in Wellington, John Key discussed the foreign buyers register as well as the TPP and Serco. Key was questioned on whether a stamp tax might be used as a tool to deal with foreign buyers.

AUDIO: Why the TPP has fallen over for New Zealand dairy farmers

Duncan Garner speaks with Andrew Hoggard, Dairy division chair of Federated Farmers, on the TPP and what effects it will have on New Zealand dairy farmers. 

For audio GO HERE

For coverage from abroad.

The NY Times version of things

The top trade negotiators of the United States and 11 other Pacific nations are gathering this week at a luxury resort in Maui for one last push to complete the largest regional trade accord in history, roping together 40 percent of the world’s economic output.

But even though it is billed as the “final round” of Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, trade representatives from the United States, Japan and Pacific nations from Canada and Chile to Australia and Vietnam have high hurdles to clear.

Australia and New Zealand are resisting American rules on access for pharmaceutical companies to their national health systems. Vietnam, Mexico and Brunei have far to go to comply with international standards on labor organizing. Canada is so reluctant to open its agricultural market to competition that it might drop out of the talks altogether.

The Dairy Farmers of P.E.I. are concerned about the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations.

Dairy producers on P.E.I. are concerned Canadian negotiators will cave in to pressure over milk quotas at trade talks in Hawaii.

Negotiators from 12 countries are in Hawaii this week working to finalize the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

Harold MacNevin, head of the Dairy Farmers of P.E.I., said Canada is being pressured by the U.S., Australia and New Zealand to open its borders to more milk imports

At least in this country, thanks to Jane Kelsey and the protest movement we have some discussion and media coverage. I pretty much looked in vain for anything recent in US,Australian or Canadian media. Practically nothing - under the carpet.

Sugar will be on the Trans-Pacific Partnership agenda
Freeing up the global sugar market is one of the most difficult chllenges in any trade deal

There was, however this in Australia

The ABC, SBS and Australia Post could lose special regulatory treatment under trade measures being pushed for by the US.

Leaked details of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations, published today by WikiLeaks, reveal that the futures of publicly owned enterprises such as Australia Post, the ABC, SBS and state power utilities may be on the negotiating table in secret talks under way in Hawaii this week.

WikiLeaks has published previously unknown details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations relating to the treatment of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) – publicly owned corporations that do not operate along strictly commercial lines and deliver benefits to the community as a whole.

The confidential leaked text, titled "SOE Issues for Ministerial Guidance", reveals for the first time that TPP negotiators have been considering proposed rules, pushed strongly by the United States, that would impose “additional disciplines” on the commercial activities of SOEs and that these would “go beyond existing obligations” 

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