The current focus is now on signature of the agreement. We believe this may be set down for 4 February in Auckland. It would be good if business leaders were invited to this historic event.
After it is signed, the agreement can proceed to Parliament for scrutiny through the select committee process.
While most members, including New Zealand, are expected to ratify the agreement fairly quickly, it may take until 2017 for the US to achieve this. But Obama will clearly try and get it ratified before he finishes his Presidency.
The new Trade Minister Todd McClay is making the right noises about the need to be more proactive in selling the benefits of TPP. The lack of Government comment in recent weeks has been a concern and created a vacuum which opponents have happily occupied.
Minister McClay is proposing a trip to the EU in early February to progress this possible negotiation.
No progress has been achieved with regard to either negotiation.
China FTA Update
China and New Zealand are still arguing over the scope of this exercise. It is unclear when negotiations will begin.
The FTA is now up and running, and tariffs were dropped twice – on entry into force in December and on 1 January – in accordance with the agreed timetable.