close
1 mins to read

Trans Pacific trade talks round one starts Monday

While US dairy farmers are less than enthusiastic about the start of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks in Melbourne on Monday, New Zealand is primed to pounce.The opening round of negotiations will be led by New Zealand whose ultimate goal is a fr

Liam Baldwin
Fri, 12 Mar 2010

While US dairy farmers are less than enthusiastic about the start of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks in Melbourne on Monday, New Zealand is primed to pounce.

The opening round of negotiations will be led by New Zealand whose ultimate goal is a free trade agreement with the United States.

Also involving Australia, Brunei, Chille, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, President Barrack Obama only formally notified Congress of his intent to enter TPP negotiations on December 14.

Stephen Jacobi, executive director of trade promotion body NZ US Council, said little was likely to come out of the first round of negotiations.

“The exciting thing is that they are beginning,” he said.

Mr Jacobi said because there are eight parties involved in the negotiations, it would likely take at least two years of discussion to conclude.

“That’s being optimistic.”

The big-ticket item for New Zealand would be improved access to sell dairy products in the US market – a desire that has dairy farmers there worried.

US dairy farmers are worried the trading power of dairy giant Fonterra could undermine their incomes if access was relaxed and tariffs lifted.

However, Mr Jacobi said New Zealand’s dairy base would just be one of a number of big issues the United States would have to consider.

Access to the US for Australia’s sugar industry will be another bone of contention. Access was previously denied with Australia’s own bilateral negotiations with the US.

Three rounds of negotiations are likely to be held this year.

Mr Jacobi said it was likely negotiations would also hang off the November, 2011, APEC meeting hosted by President Obama in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Liam Baldwin
Fri, 12 Mar 2010
© All content copyright NBR. Do not reproduce in any form without permission, even if you have a paid subscription.
Trans Pacific trade talks round one starts Monday
3346