Ensure a "Fair Deal" for NZ in the TPPA

Posted on: July 20, 2012 - 12:59 By: dave

We would like to make sure the people of NZ are aware of the work being done behind the scenes to ensure that NZ gets a Fair Deal: that we don't suffer substantial restrictions on our personal liberty and sovereignty as a result of the top secret Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPPA) currently being negotiated on our behalf.

The Fair Deal campaign conveys a short sharp message about the negative implications for all kiwis if NZ accepts the US' IP Chapters in the TPPA.  The website also makes it easy for members of the public to lobby their elected officials to ensure they know how we - the people of NZ - feel about the possibility that our negotiators will trade away our freedom - shackling us with a US-style "strong IP regime" stripping us of many liberties related to copyright, patents, parallel importing, among others we have won over the years.

There is more at stake than just our liberty. Our future prosperity through the "weightless exports" of IT skills, software, and other creative and cultural works is also threatened. And all on the tenuous promise of some agricultural import concessions from the US.

The US seeks to impose its "strong IP Chapter" - written by US corporate lobbyists representing Hollywood, the record companies, and other "rights holders" - on the nations participating in the TPPA. Of course, we don't know for sure how bad the conditions really are, because our knowledge of the agreement is limited to leaked drafts. The negotiation is taking place entirely behind closed doors, with the citizens of the various participating countries unable to scrutinise the process, nor able to assess the implications of the various negotiating teams' proposed concessions. We understand that the secrecy of the negotiations was mandated by the US.

We note that the US only decided in 2010 to join the original TPPA countries (which included NZ and a number of other countries) who had a prior trade agreement called P4 which was largely successful for all participants. Many speculate that the US is trying to counter the emerging influence of China in the Pacific region. Also noteworthy is that the TPPA is no longer refered to as a "Free Trade Agreement". Instead, since the US' participation, negotiators have conspicuously dropped the word "Free" and replace it with the far more ambiguous "High Quality"... The question is: who benefits from this HQTA?

Due to the secrecy of the proceedings, no one but our negotiators can answer that question. Of course, they are instructed by our national government, but we have not yet seen any credible economic analysis to justify the Government's current support for the TPPA. We can only hope that we get a Fair Deal: that our negotiators stand strong and reject all concessions to the US corporate interests who lobbied for the specific terms which make up the US' IP Chapter.

The Australians have lost billions of dollars each year as a direct result of the FTA they signed with the US.  Given the Aussie experience, it is likely that if US agricultural lobbies complain, NZ farmers will see no benefit whatsoever from the TPPA, and yet we honest kiwis will still have lost our freedoms.

Is the TPPA something for which you would happily trade way your personal freedoms or our nation's future prospects? No? The Fair Deal website makes it easy for you to let your politicians know how you feel about it.

The Fair Deal campaign is supported by:

Internationally, the campaign is supported by: