The ministers from the twelve countries who negotiated the the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) will sign it in New Zealand on 4 February, a government spokesperson from Chile has confirmed.
The New Zealand government has made no formal announcement, despite reports that it would host the meeting since the APEC summit last November.
Consistent with the government’s obsessively secrecy throughout the TPPA process, we have to get confirmation of what is happening in our own country from offshore.
Polls have shown the government doesn’t have popular support for the deal. Presumably it wants to limit the chance for New Zealanders to make their opposition heard, we were reliably told by offshore sources some time ago that the meeting is in Auckland, but we expect the government to try to keep the actual venue secret until much closer to the day.
A series of high profile public meetings has been planned for the main cities at the end of January, starting with Auckland Town Hall on the evening of 26th January, followed by Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.
The star attraction will be Lori Wallach, director of Washington based Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, the organisation founded by Ralph Nader. She last toured New Zealand when the TPPA ministerial meeting was held here in late 2010.
The US holds the key to the fate of the TPPA. Lori Wallach probably knows more than anyone about what is really happening in the US Congress and across the corporate lobbies and civil society groups in America. Her insights will provide a reality check in advance of the pr spin that is bound to surround the signing.