Will NZ now pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership?

Will NZ now pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership? article image

The newly elected NZ Labour Government will decide in coming weeks whether to commit the country to a Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.

New Zealand's new government will take office next week, with Labour prime minister Jacinda Ardern to be joined in a coalition by the nationalist New Zealand First and the liberal Green Party.

Both Labour and New Zealand First say they want to renegotiate the free-trade deal that 11 Pacific nations including Australia are considering signing.

That could delay the TPP or result in New Zealand following America's lead and pulling out.

In January President Donald Trump followed through on a campaign promise to abandon the TPP shortly after being elected.

New Zealand's previous government had announced just two months ago that it had approved a mandate for the country to push ahead with negotiations.

But Labour says it opposes the sale of farms, homes, and certain infrastructure to overseas buyers.

It claims the previous government traded away those rights in the proposed deal.

And other existing and proposed trade deals could come under scrutiny for similar reasons.

Committed to delivering the pact

Since the US withdrawal, Australia, Japan and New Zealand have been spearheading efforts to revive the deal.

Australia's Trade Minister, Steven Ciobo, is especially keen to pursue the trade deal with or without the United States.

And before losing office former NZ Trade Minister Todd McClay told reporters the TPP 11 “are committed to finding a way forward to deliver” the pact.

Spearheaded by former US president Barack Obama, the far-reaching TPP – which notably excludes China – would have rewritten the rules of 21st century trade.

The TPP was seen as a way to counter Beijing’s regional economic dominance.

The 11 countries – Japan (the only country to have already ratified the pact), Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei, Australia, NZ, Canada, Mexico, Chile and Peru – represent roughly 13.5 per cent of the global economy.

The remaining countries would have to change the rules for any deal to go ahead, and it would be significantly smaller without the involvement of the world’s largest economy.


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