Ardern lays ground for defeat on TPP investor dispute clauses

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said "A number of countries do want to see [the TPP-11] come to a conclusion" (photo: Jerry Yelich-O'Connor)

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern arrived in Vietnam last night for talks on the Trans Pacific Partnership today, warning again that New Zealand had "come in very late" with its objections to investor state dispute settlement clauses that the new government would like to see dropped from the trade and investment pact.

Trade ministers from the remaining 11 countries in the grouping of Asia-Pacific nations were meeting in Da Nang as Ms Ardern arrived, saying the talks were "down to the wire" and that Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker had reported "tough going" arguing New Zealand's case.

"It's fair to say it has been tough going and continues to be, particularly the point we are now in when it comes to negotiations but we are continuing to persist along those lines," said Ms Ardern, after a briefing from Parker on her arrival in Da Nang, before he returned to the talks which Foreign Minister Winston Peters, also in Vietnam for the annual Apec leaders' summit, said "will probably go all night."

Leaders of the 11 countries still in the TPP are due to meet early afternoon, local time, Friday for a meeting that could determine the fate of the troubled pact, which stalled earlier this year when US president Donald Trump withdrew the US from the agreement.

"These negotiations are now down to the wire. It is still not clear what the outcome will be," Ms Ardern said but New Zealand was at the table and attempting "to balance our exporters' needs but also our country's."

Mr Peters confirmed he had held bilateral meetings with a number of his counterparts, including the Russia's foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov.

However, rather than discussing Mr Peters' enthusiasm for resuming free-trade agreement talks with Russia, which were included as part of the coalition agreement between Labour and NZ First, Mr Peters said he had discussed "the bigger picture" of the potential for constructive relations between New Zealand and Russia.

The annual Apec leaders' meeting brings together 21 leaders of some of the world's largest economies, including Mr Trump, Chinese president Xi Jinping, and Shinzo Abe, the prime minister of Japan.

Ardern, making her first major outing on the global stage, said she had prioritised formal bilateral meetings with leaders from TPP countries, meaning meetings with Xi and Trump may only occur informally as China is not a member of TPP and the US is no longer.

The US withdrawal was initially assumed to be a death knell for the deal but leadership from Japan, Australia and New Zealand under the previous government saw the prospect of a TPP-11 deal revived, with a view to keeping the door open both to the US and potentially other countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

However, Japan has strongly resisted reopening negotiations on the detail of the pact and, as a major international investor, supports ISDS clauses that give it protections from unilateral government decisions such as expropriation of assets.

Asked whether TPP-11 would survive if a go-forward plan did not emerge this week in Vietnam, Ardern said it was "definitely coming to a head.

"A number of countries do want to see it come to a conclusion. It's hard to know whether you will be able to maintain your ongoing negotiating position the longer it drags on."

It remains to be seen whether further legislation would be required to allow a revised TPP to proceed, leading to the potential for both the government's support partners, NZ First and the Green Party, voting against it. To forestall that, National Party trade spokesman and trade minister until last month Todd McClay pledged National's support to ensure any TPP-related legislation could pass with support from Labour and National.

Rejecting TPP is a touchstone issue for the left of New Zealand politics but carries political risks for the new government if New Zealand is seen to have chosen isolation from a major Pacific Rim trade and investment deal.

To try to counter domestic disappointment among its supporters if it signs a TPP-11 agreement with ISDS clauses, the new government has already announced how it will effectively ban sales of existing homes to non-resident foreign investors and signed a side letter with Australia agreeing not to use TPP ISDS clauses against one another.

(BusinessDesk)


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She should resign.

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Why?

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Was there a list of things that Labour would backtrack on in the first 100-days?

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The list is the same as the list of things they would accomplish in the first 100 Days. So they negate each other to nil vs nil.

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Sounds like the "Coalition of Fear" are candidates for a silver medal. their track record up to now is not a good look. To think the "Coalition of Fear",have bitten off a lot more that they can chew, is an indictment of their election promises. Wonder what will happen to all the baubles of shiny new buttons ,once the shine wears off. A reality check ,will show chickens coming home to roost. Maybe a lot sooner that anyone forecast.

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Totally outta their depth. Kids at the adults table. The other Leaders who knew JK and BE must be laughing at how a country can go from having Leaders with substance to Leaders with no credibility in such a short time.
Would love to be a fly on the wall when the other Leaders are talking about Cindy and the Demented Dwarf.

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New Zealand's right-wing voters going full on Tea Party.

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So National Party voters who in most cases would have backed the TTPA appear to now not want Labour to sign up...........make up your minds.

If they sign up great, it is the right thing to do in my view. It also shows they are not anti-capitalist etc. Also good on them for at least pushing their case, sounds to me like the previous admin just bent over.

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They do and want Comrade Ardern that paragon of flip flop, sign the whole deal that National negotiated without any amendments for NZ. "The Coalition of Fear" are out of their depth ,again.They are an embarrasment for NZ. Of course living up to their name as Peters Party elected Government,and it shows.

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