All continues to depend on the Obama Administration receiving a negotiating authority. Without this Japan, Canada and others will not reveal bottom lines for the negotiation. With negotiating authority we have a chance of concluding TPP by the end of July. Without it the negotiation is, in effect, dead for two to three years. Signs were promising with a bipartisan Bill supported to the Senate. But this has just struck a procedural roadblock, with Senate Democrats blocking the Bill’s introduction. It is too early to tell weather this is just a speed bump or weather this is a major problem.
Export New Zealand submitted to the Select Committee last week in support of the Korea- NZ FTA. Fonterra and Zespri also submitted in support. There was opposition from a range of interest groups – environmental, medical and others. Those opposing relied very heavily on work done by Auckland University Professor Jane Kelsey. It seemed at times that the Committee was considering TPP not Korea. We imagine that the Select Committee will recommend support for the FTA, but there were interesting lessons there for TPP, should we actually have a conclusion to that negotiation.
There is nothing, good or bad, to report on the other negotiations underway or in prospect.