TPP: All Eyes on Hawaii
TPP negotiators have been in Hawaii now for a couple of days and are working around the clock to try and get the agreement in sufficient shape for Ministers to reach final agreement. At this stage it seems Ministers are going to assemble on 31 July (1 August NZ time).
The critical element for New Zealand will be market access for agriculture, and what is on the table from Japan and Canada (there actually maybe be nothing yet on the table from Canada) does not look that good. And until market access is largely resolved, the final form of agreements on other issues of contention – investor state dispute settlement, intellectual property etc cannot be resolved.
There is much work to be done in not that many days. And at the end of the day some big compromises will need to be made to achieve the final deal.
At this stage the feedback we are receiving is that an agreement is likely to be reached at the 31 July Ministerial.
Once Ministers agree there will need to be a few weeks of work for the lawyers to agree the final text before the agreement can be signed. It will become public at the point of signature. Then all jurisdictions will need to ratify the agreement.
We should anticipate some controversy during the New Zealand ratification process but suspect some of the current opponents will disappear from the scene once they actually get to read the agreed text.
ExportNZ will be making a submission on the Agreement but it would be useful if individual members with export interest in the TPP market also submit. We will provide assistance and advice once submissions are called for.
EU: The next big opportunity?
We are hearing very positive noises about the prospects for launching a FTA with the EU. The expectation is that there will be an announcement in mid October – coinciding with a visit by the Prime Minister to Brussels. This will be a multi year process but once the negotiation is formally launched we should expect a positive conclusion. This may be Minister Groser’s final achievement before his departure for Washington DC.
Minister Groser seems pleased by progress achieved at his most recent meeting with colleagues from the Pacific Alliance – Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. Watch this space.
Not looking good. Is there a possible plan B?
Looking even worse than GCC.
Canada and Ukraine have announced completion of negotiations of a FTA.