All Eyes On Atlanta
It seems that Senior Officials and Ministers will be converging on Atlanta at the end of this week to seek finalisation of TPP. Senior Officcials begin their meetings on 26 September while Ministers are due to meet on 30 September. The meeting is a bit surprising as there are still differences on dairy, auto rules of origin and biologics but the major players seem determined that the meeting should go ahead. Encouragingly, New Zealand Senior Official Dr David Walker is going to Atlanta via Tokyo where he will seek to bridge differences between New Zealand and Japan. The New Zealand Embassy has been actively engaged all last week with Japanese counterparts.
Also helpful will be a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Key and President Obama in New York a day or so before the beginning of the Atlanta Ministerial. Minister Groser will be with the Prime Minister in New York. A meeting between the Prime Minister and Prime Minister Abe is also being sought.
If the automobile rules of origin issue can be resolved, New Zealand will be in a very difficult position at Atlanta.
EU FTA? A real possibility?
Yes, it seems that the momentum is building for a negotiation between New Zealand and the EU. The Prime Minister is set to visit Brussels on 29 and 30 October and an announcement of EU willingness to take the negotiation forward is anticipated at that time. This would be a major step forward, but the EU FTA negotiation process is a slow one. Negotiations may not actually begin for another 2 years.
The International Business Forum paper on this FTA possibility was launched last week and was a welcome contribution to debate on this topic. View more..