Concern That Secret Trade Deal Signed Today Could Hinder Covid Recovery – It’s Our Future

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It’s Our Future is alarmed over media reports that the NZ Labour Government will sign up to the secret Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade deal with fourteen other Asia-Pacific economies on 14 November.

“There is nothing to gain from this latest trade deal. Instead it is likely to hinder the economic recoveries of RCEP countries, including New Zealand”, said It’s Our Future spokesperson Edward Miller.

“The government’s only rationale has been that RCEP is a backdoor to a free trade agreement with India. Now India has backed out, deciding that RCEP is not in its national interest. New Zealand needs to do the same”, Mr Miller said.

“We still have next to no public effective consultation on closed-door trade deals like the RCEP. There is no publicly available text and no clear intention to bring these discussions out of the shadows. Has the NZ Government forgotten the public response to the equally secretive TPPA negotiation?”

“In the seven long years since the RCEP negotiation began, tens of thousands of New Zealanders have marched against these mega trade deals”, said Mr Miller. “The global tide has since turned on corporate-led trade and investment deals like the RCEP that put profit before people and planet.”

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RCEP economies represent a third of the planet’s population, most of which are still reeling from covid-19’s health and economic impacts.

“Policymakers have grown increasingly aware that corporate trade deals like the RCEP could encroach upon policy space and the freedom to regulate, preventing governments from taking necessary actions to safeguard public health and the economic recover – for what?”

Recent economic modelling from the Third World Network concludes that even under conditions of full tariff liberalisation New Zealand will experience only a 0.15% GDP increase from the RCEP, because we already have trade agreements with most of the economies in the negotiation.

“The economic benefits of this best-case scenario look slim and unreliable”, continued Miller. “It’s certainly not worth putting further constraints on policy space at this crucial time, with unemployment and child poverty rising, a housing bubble quickly inflating and the climate crisis looming on the agenda.”

“It is deeply concerning that, amidst these real crises, the NZ Labour Government is continuing with this broken model of corporate trade deals.”

21 COMMENTS

  1. India is a lot smarter than NZ, after losing twice in WTO with a huge solar power array and (especially in light of Covid and it’s origin from meat) importing in US meat, it realises that the agreements stop them making sovereign decisions, they can import and export more freely without the agreements…

    “India has lost solar case against United States at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
    Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) of WTO has ruled that, India’s requirement of only domestic solar equipment’s for its ambitious Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) is inconsistent with the international trade norms.
    Background
    In 2014, US had dragged India in DSB of WTO against its JNNSM which favoured only to use locally manufactured solar equipment.
    US in its appeal had alleged that, the state sponsored programme of India has discriminated importation of solar equipment manufactured in US.
    Implications of this decision: US companies manufacturing solar equipment are looking JNNSM which has set an ambitious target of generating 20,000 Mega Watts (MW) solar power by 2022 as a big business potential.
    Note: This is second case India has lost at WTO against US. Earlier in June 2015, WTO had ruled against India’s ban on import of poultry meat, eggs and live pigs from US is inconsistent with international trade norms.”

    Free trade deals are not about trade but about big countries and companies making more money and having more control on smaller less powerful countries resources.

    • It’s Our Future are clearly another bunch of luddites who haven’t a clue how trading nations create better opportunities for all.

      Far from considering their national interest, India withdrew because of pressure from small groups of entitled
      but influential self interest such as their subsidized, inefficient & uncompetitive dairy farmers. No different from the USA.

      • Ha ha ha!

        You’re obviously so trapped in the dysfunctional Matrix (with all it’s thought control systems), you cannot see the truth: that the Luddites were absolutely right!

        Okay, back in the early 1800s planetary meltdown -due to using fossil fuels- wasn’t recognised as the existential threat it now poses (after trillions of tonnes of sequestered carbon have been extracted from below ground and burned) but the Luddites did recognise the dehumanising effects of industrial production and the local environmental effects of Britain’s ‘black satanic mills’ spewing industrial waste into the air and rivers of the once-beautiful lands.

        ‘create better opportunities for all’

        Yeah, like ‘better opportunities’ for millions of impoverished peasants who have had their livelihoods and their way of life stolen by corrupt governments and the corporations those corrupt governments serve, and are forced to work in sweatshops paying a few dollars a day (if they are lucky).

        Or how about the peasant farmers who have been committing suicide by the thousand because they got caught up in the genetically-modified seed scam run by Monsanto and their minions?

        From your numerous idiotic comments, RobbieWgtn, you are well on the way to being nominated TDB Troll of the Year… maybe even Fuckwit of the Year.

        • “sticks & stones”…you should see the responses I get on Kiwiblog (a different username). I’ve always thought that the secret to getting closer to the truth is p*****g everyone off equally.

          • “sticks & stones”???

            I’m only interested in establishment and promulgation of historical, scientific, economic and social truth. That doesn’t go down well at Kiwiblog, which, like The Standard, tends to censor unpalatable truth or ban people for writing it.

  2. Personnally i support the TPPA but was interested enough to go to a meeting in Chch where Labour Greens NZF were all on the stage saying they were against it annd National were selling out the country. Next day there was a march with Labour loud and proud stating how bad it was .
    Once Labour had won the election they sudden change of heart and the agreement is signed . Another broken promise to add to the list . All credit to the Greens they still opposed it but their weak response would have shown Labour they were a timid force and easy to walk over unlike NZF

    • Trev when you “supported the TPPA” were you aware of the secret conditions to over ride NZ ability to make decisions in the best interest of NZ. It called loss of sovereignty.

      • No but I realize a mear mortal like myself does not find out these thinks until later . I am also realistic enough to accept we are a small nation with plenty to offer but we need to be at the table otherwise we get nothing.
        Being over 70 in the last few years I have read UK government papers held in limbo for 50 years and
        while I have always tried to be aware of current affairs there were many surprises .

  3. Do we always have do do multi trade agreements? Can we not do more bilateral agreements that are less likely to effect our sovereignty and therefore more likely to impact negatively on our TOW obligations.

  4. Unnecessary global trade is a substantial contributor to Meltdown of the Planet, insofar as goods no on actually needs are produced at the expense of the environment and a HUGE amounts of pollution are spewed into the atmosphere (and ultimately the oceans too) by carriers of those goods: ships run on the lowest grade of gunk left over from oil refining that can be pumped -high in sulphur and other nasty components- and aircraft run on higher grade refined hydrocarbon but spew their exhaust gases -which contain numerous environmental nasties- directly into the atmosphere, where the ‘nasties; do the most damage.

    And, of course, more trade dependent on combustion of petroleum generates yet more CO2, which is arguably one of the most deadly substances generated by the industrial system at this stage of the game in view of its catastrophic overheating effect on the Earth.

    Needless to say, the mainstream reporting of this trade abomination has all the cheerleading and zero reporting of the negatives because some arseholes are going to make a few extra dollars out of it -and bugger the future.

    The good news is, the US-dollar-based global financial system is on its last legs and will soon collapse, probably before this trade abomination gets into full swing.

    The bad news is, the arseholes who are determined to sabotage the future via their personal greed and stupidity will look for ways to circumvent the US dollar collapse.

    The other good news is, global extraction of oil and oil-like substances has peaked and is in terminal decline (which will bring down the entire house-of-cards system).

    The other bad news is, there is still enough oil coming out of the wells to completely bugger the climate system and cause the temperature of the Earth to rise way beyond the average 2oC rise the ‘powers that be’ have declared to be safe when in fact it is not safe at all.

    The other bad really bad news is, we have maniacs who won’t listen in control -lunatics are running the asylum (as has been the case for many decades)- and most of the populace STILL don’t recognise they are being thoroughly shafted by the system. I guess they will wake from their collective stupor when the next round of failure occurs and the destitute can’t feed themselves and resort to stealing, as per the early nineteenth century.

    Needless to say, corporate theft is not just tolerated by the government, it is actively encouraged by the government.

    Daily CO2
    Nov. 14, 2020: 412.58 ppm
    Nov. 14, 2019: 410.55 ppm

  5. This is what the ‘new trade deals’ will mean.
    Every lazy, cunning, sketchy, deviant Parnell Pig will continue to float about in the trough of easy farmer money while our farmers suicide after they get their wool check showing a gross return of less than a dollar a kg. Otherwise? Why the big fucking secret?
    We must remember: People were starving to death long before c-19 came along.

    • Agreed CB
      There is no need for secrecy except to hide detail that may show loss of sovereignty or consequences that are not in the county’s interests.
      Agreements of bilateral trade, that are transparent to the public with no loss of right for either country to vary conditions when the best interests of either country are impinged. A right to self defense.

  6. What is clear is that trade deals are burdens on smaller countries, big countries like China regularly break the free trade rules and then just claim ‘food infractions’ to get around them.

    Trade agreements are for large organisations to take natural resources and power off sovereign countries and for larger countries to use coercive pressure on other nations..

    “China has a history of using coercive economic pressure as a political weapon.

    In 2011, for example, it restricted salmon imports from Norway after the awarding of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo. In 2012 it banned bananas from the Philippines in the wake of territorial disputes in the South China Sea. And so on.”

    https://theconversation.com/theres-no-need-for-panic-over-chinas-trade-threats-149828

    But such pressure has been narrowly focused, and China has been careful to maintain “plausible deniability”, using excuses like food safety concerns to avoid being taken to the World Trade Organisation for flouting international trade rules.”

    • SNZ.
      Are you aware of the many sanctions imposed on dozens of nations including NZ by the USA. We are not free to trade with many nations because of US political attempted take overs of several nations currently.

      Our trade with Cuba was cut off and importers have struggled for ages just to get their coffee, because of embedded political restraints through US influence on our ministries.

      We have a trade agreement with China that for most part works for both countries with little restraint on sovereignty. Our govt does need to control Chinese ownership of land just as China controls its national ownership of land. But that is an issue that stupid Kiwis “tolerate” through political lobbying of our ministers. NZF had a thrust to exclude foreign ownership of NZ soil but was “influenced” not to pursue it.

      China seems to give out a lot more info on the current RECP than what we get in NZ

      https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1206828.shtml

      India has dropped out and protects its rural sector badly damaged by US corporates.
      “The Indian parliament is hesitant to liberalize trade and capital flows for fear of allowing large agribusinesses to displace millions of small farmers. ”
      Differences apart from China being dominant and USA being out. It is a regional pact which confines freight distances which may have a slight impact on fossil fuel pollution.
      “While the TPP aimed to remove tariffs completely on over 90 percent of traded goods, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership attempts to merely reduce tariffs on only 80 percent of goods. The TPP also went further in attempting to curtail government-subsidized industrialization and implement environmental and labor regulation”

      NZ has to ratify its part through parliament. Business NZ will be pushing hard but no doubt has had inside running and information all through the negotiations over nearly 9 years with the latest round of negotiations being over 8 months.
      They have kept very quiet through the current round as have NACT who will have insider info.

      It is well past the time when NZ needs to tighten up its property laws to prevent off shore ownership and further speculation.
      The rubber stamp of the OIO needs to be replaced with a much wider strategy to build NZ assets with Kiwi owners.

  7. Oh well, there goes any chance of stopping raw log exports to build houses in NZ!

    NZ would be far better off as an independent, non aligned nation, doing mutually advantageous bilateral trade deals.

    But of course we have 5 Eyes standing on our throat, and international finance capital in the form of Australian banks.

    RCEP seems to be opposed by some as it chops the yanks out and may aid China. Well boo hoo, Trump’s US effectively chopped NZ out. Global trade agreements are usually bad news for small and non imperialist countries, so Labour has made another serious blunder (or great move no doubt if you are a Blairite).

  8. Free trade is a “race to the bottom” where imported products are sold often with stealth, where the worst and most imhumane producers, flourish.

    Shocking footage of ‘severely injured’ pigs on Spanish farms released
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/nov/16/shocking-footage-of-severely-injured-pigs-on-spanish-farms-released

    We now have so many food created diseases around the world, from Covid, MERS, foot and mouth to Mad cow.

    Easy to see why with intensive and cruel standards of farming out competing local and humane ways to farm. A race to the bottom.

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