The website JusTrade.nz, launched this week, heralds a new forward-looking campaign for a progressive 21st century trade agenda.
The JusTrade project builds on a two-day hui in late October that debated what an alternative and progressive trade strategy for Aotearoa New Zealand should look like. The live-streaming attracted over 17,000 page views. The website carries videos and transcriptions of all ten panels.
Hui convenor, University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey, says ‘for too long we’ve been told there is no alternative to the current model, epitomised in the recently adopted Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.’
‘Today, the global trade regime faces an existential crisis. Mega-negotiations are being abandoned, delayed or pared down, and the World Trade Organization is fractured and paralysed.’
‘Critique is no longer enough. If anything is to really change, we need to step away from the existing framework and take a first-principles approach to rethinking what will work for the 21st century.’
‘The message from the hui was very clear: we need to generate real alternatives that confront climate change and disruption, while supporting sustainable local businesses and jobs that pay a living wage, in a nation founded on te Tiriti o Waitangi.’
‘A new progressive vision would see trade as driven by relationships, within our communities and with the wider world, that enable innovation, resilience and wellbeing, instead of enabling the corporations and markets that currently dominate our trade policy.’
‘The recent hui and the new website are a first step in the JusTrade project, bringing together experts on economics and business, geopolitics, te Tiriti, climate and environment, livelihoods, development, knowledge and health and wellbeing.’
Over the next few weeks, further media releases will highlight specific aspects of the new vision, starting with contributions on the economy and on climate change.
Two other targeted initiatives – on regulation of the digital economy and on alternatives to international investment agreements – will be launched to coincide with international forums in which the New Zealand government will be taking part.
The project will also monitor and support Stage Two of the Waitangi Tribunal claim on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (Wai-2522), and other Maori initiatives.