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UN Rights Expert Denounces Secret Talks on Trade Treaties

Online Publication Date: 13 May 2015

21 May 2015

For immediate release

TPPA Ministerial Reported Cancelled, Time to Put the Deal Outof its Misery

‘The reportedcancellation of the planned meeting of the twelve trade ministers in Guam,billed as an “endgame” for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), isanother nail in the coffin of a deal that has been on life support for severalyears’, says University of Auckland Professor Jane Kelsey.

Japanese media havequoted government officials saying the meeting scheduled for 26 to 28 May willnot proceed and their delegation has cancelled its reservation,although there has been no formal statement to that effect.

Professor Kelsey calledfor Trade Minister Tim Groser to confirm the situation and what will now happento the troubled negotiations.

‘The two massiveobstacles to the conclusion of this deal have become inter-twined.’

‘Until recently, thetalks had been stalled because the two elephants in the room, the US and Japan,could not reach their own special deal on agriculture and automobiles.’

In the last few monthsseveral governments have also made it clear that they will not make politicaltrade offs unless President Obama has Fast Track authority, curtailing thepowers of Congress over the deal.

The long delay in evenputting the Fast Track Bill before Congress showed Obama did not believe he hadthe numbers. Despite stop-start attempts to advance the Bill in the US Senateover the past two weeks, the vast majority of Democrats, especially in theHouse, and many Republicans are vehemently opposed.

‘New Zealand’s TradeMinister Groser said, for some unfathomable reason, that New Zealand would beprepared to make a political deal without Fast Track’, Professor Kelsey noted.

‘But the Japanese havepoint blank refused to do so. Their Economy Minister Akira Amari said two daysago that there will no final TPPA without Fast Track, making it "extremelydifficulty" to proceed with the ministerial.’

‘The talks have nowreached stalemate. TPPA ministers are bound to meet on the margins of APEC inthe Philippines this weekend. Hopefully they will do a hard-nosed realitycheck’ Kelsey said.

‘After five years ofvast expense of taxpayers’ money, and wasted energies of negotiators andministers, it is time to stop pouring good money after bad and put the TPPA outof its misery.’

Contact: Jane Kelsey021765055


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