Obama administration postpones free trade negotiations with NZhttp://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0903/S00075.htm
Monday, 9 March 2009, 9:57 am
Press Release: Arena Sunday March 8 2009
New Zealand research and education network ARENA today welcomed news that the United States has postponed trade negotiations with New Zealand pending an overall review of US trade policy, and says that the New Zealand government should follow suit.
“The Obama administration has sought an indefinite postponement of the start of negotiations on what it calls the ‘Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)’ scheduled to begin in Singapore at the end of March,” ARENA spokesperson Dr. Jane Kelsey said.
The negotiations build on an agreement between New Zealand, Chile, Singapore and Brunei, known as the P4. The United States negotiated to extend the agreement into financial services and investment, which turned into comprehensive negotiations on all areas. At APEC late last year Australia and Peru announced they would also take part, with Vietnam as an observer.
“This postponement is to give time for the approval for a new United States Trade Representative, who will then undertake a review and re-evaluation of the United States’ overall FTA policy,” Jane Kelsey said.
This week’s announcement came at the same time as Obama received a letter from 54 members of the House of Representatives, including highly placed politicians, who were strongly critical of the Bush strategy to make last-minute commitments on negotiations in an attempt to ambush the Obama administration.
“The TPP was singled out, and the letter called on Obama to reverse Bush’s decision to join the negotiations.”
“It became clear at an inter-agency hearing on the Trans Pacific Partnership in the United States this week that the current model of free trade agreements will be up for review under Obama’s watch.”
ARENA was calling for a similar review in NZ, Jane Kelsey said.
“It’s time to jettison the simplistic line that ‘whatever is good for Fonterra must be good for the country’.”
“These agreements dig us even deeper into the failed model of global free markets, including in financial services, investment and government procurement. We need to take off the blinkers and look at what this really means for New Zealand,” Jane Kelsey said.