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PTT In Trouble 

With all the uninformed drivel we have heard spoken recently on the advent of the TPP Agreement, one could be excused for imagining that we were about to sign our nationality away in the interests of supporting some international right- wing conspiracy designed to line the pockets of US capitalist exploiters.

It often appeared during the debate that the usually left-leaning media party lent its support to the vocal protesters who were demonstrably bamboozled, and that National had 'sold us down the river.' Cooler heads appear to have nevertheless prevailed amongst the majority of the population if recent polls are to be believed, and the left is shocked that neither the  TPP, nor the student loan boondoggle have provided the lift that was widely expected. Instead, Winnie the Pooh has emerged  smelling of roses - the inevitable result of widespread confusion.

But beyond all the local fire and smoke lies a far tougher hurdle - the US election, and whether the TPP gets to the vote before or after. Much swings on the reaction of specific Democratic House identities who will lead the argument in one direction or the other. Local opponents will be delighted to hear that senior House Democrat  - Sander M. Levin, who is a top voice on trade has come out against the Agreement - in the words of Jackie Calmes in yesterday's 'NY Times International,' - "darkening the outlook for the landmark agreement." It is significant because he has been supportive during the years-long negotiations.

What is more significant is the reasons that he provided for his opposition - similar, but different to those used by Prof. Jane Kelsey, and parroted by her motley crew of nay-sayers.

He cites four areas of concern as it affects the US:

  1. weakness in the protection of worker rights;
  2. penalties for nations that manipulate their currencies to under-price their exports;
  3. rules that would guard against the use of materials like auto-parts from nations - primarily China - that are not parties to the Agreement;
  4. and a dispute resolution system that corporations have used to challenge countries' environmental , health and labour safeguards as anti-trade.

1 & 4 are prominent in Kelsey's litany of objections, but what is interesting is that in both cases, it is ironic that it is her claim that these are the very conditions that would be used against us by the nasty US capitalists. On the contrary it seems that we may have some major concerns in common with the US congressional majority. Why the nay-sayers have turned it into an anti-US tirade is quite beyond me, unless it hides a quite different and sinister agenda. 

If there are aspects that need fixing, then let the arguments stand or fall on their merits - there must be ways and means of achieving a satisfactory result without allowing the Agreement to die on the floor of anti-US sentiment led by Kelsey, and parroted by Little et al

Tim Groser states that it must stand, or fall as if written on marble - how stupid if everyone of the twelve nations can be persuaded to accept additional safeguards. New lead negotiator Dr David Walker should sound out counterparts before it is too late, particularly in the US.




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Reader Comments (1)

I don't know that the anti-T.P.P.A. lobby are anti.- U.S.A. particularly as you suggest; they are, rather and perhaps, anti-corporate. I cannot share your unbridled enthusiasm for the T.P.P.A. simply because of my somewhat cynical regard for the underlying motivation of Big Business in lobbying and promoting the Agreement. While trade is, and remains, central to the NZ economy, it ought not to be at the expense of other equally important components to the NZ way of life; e.g. the Governments right to legislate for the benefit of citizens, citizens participation in open and democratic process, et. al. As much as you do not accept the TCDC mantra "Trust me I know what I am doing," I am disinclined to accept that our Government always has the citizens best interests at heart.

February 23, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRussell

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