RCEP – A Wake Up Call To Rethink The Failed Hyperglobalisation Model

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The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) that was signed virtually yesterday is a wake up call for the cheerleaders of hyperglobalisation: countries and their peoples have become wary and weary of these mega-free trade deals , …

“The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) that was signed virtually yesterday is a wake up call for the cheerleaders of hyperglobalisation: countries and their peoples have become wary and weary of these mega-free trade deals ”, says University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey, who closely followed the negotiations and attended many negotiating rounds over the past eight years.

What was originally slated as China’s antidote to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) leaves out some of the most controversial rules.

There is no chapter on state-owned enterprises or government procurement, no right for foreign investors to enforce special rights through investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), some intellectual property rights for Big Pharma are absent or diluted, the electronic commerce chapter left out some rules and is not enforceable.

Moreover, RCEP delivers virtually nothing in traditional market access terms among 15 countries that have a vast web of similar agreements among themselves.

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“The big deal, including for New Zealand, was the inclusion of India”, says Professor Kelsey.

“But India walked away last year because the price was just too high. The economy and workforce would have been swamped by Chinese imports and Australian and New Zealand market access demands would have devastated India’s 100 million dairy farmers.”.

Professor Kelsey notes that the usually ebullient Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) is even downplaying the deal, admitting that it failed to achieve its objectives.

“It’s time for New Zealand to revisit the failed hyperglobalisation model of the past four decades, especially after Covid-19 has exposed our vulnerability to deeply integrated supply chains we can’t control and ‘services exports’ that depend on international travel.”

“Even the Labour’s government’s Trade for All Advisory Board called for a rethink of the current approach” Professor Kelsey observed.

“Hopefully Minister Mahuta will bring a fresh eye to these challenges and help move New Zealand to a progressive trade agenda fit for the challenges of the 21st century.”

16 COMMENTS

  1. Trade deals are more about controlling small/powerless countries and stealing their resources globally in a race to the bottom.

    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.

  2. Trade deals don’t work because anybody can just claim Covid on my beef, and it costs $50 million to prove otherwise years later in a Kangaroo court… trade helps rich countries and entraps less wealthy ones.

    “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.”

    • Any trade deal where China is involved will eventually go bad. The simple fact is that they want total dominance in all trade aspects. They are on a power trip. Ultimately, they want dominance in everything- including your sovereignty and freedoms.

      • Bruce are you getting confused with the US, TPPA and the US corporate written clauses to over ride our countries best interests.
        Jane has not gone into detail but NZ needs to protect itself from business interests that influence cabinet members to agree to provisions in the interest of our business sector and off shore investors.

  3. Only costs years and $39m to defend public health under trade deals…

    Revealed: $39m cost of defending Australia’s tobacco plain packaging laws

    Exclusive: Two years after an FOI claim was lodged, the price of the six-year fight with Philip Morris has been revealed

    “The government was ordered to disclose the information by the information commissioner this year. The Department of Health even lodged an appeal in the administrative appeals tribunal in March to prevent the disclosure.

    Patrick said he was blown away by the “mammoth cost” to taxpayers of the legal fight.

    “This is exactly why Australia must stop signing up to free trade agreements with these insidious ISDS provisions in them,” he said.

    “I accept the government had to defend the matter, but if we hadn’t signed up to the Hong Kong agreement with ISDS provisions in it then there would not have been a tribunal hearing. Imagine what health outcomes could have been achieved with that $39m.”

    Patrick said the ISDS provisions in the TPP-11 could expose taxpayers to tens of millions of dollars in legal fees and potentially billions in damages in the event that federal parliament makes changes to laws that don’t suit foreign companies.

    He said release of the information was a win for transparency, but the information should have been released immediately upon request in 2016.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jul/02/revealed-39m-cost-of-defending-australias-tobacco-plain-packaging-laws

  4. Trade deals have impacted on many NZers who can’t even afford to buy our own NZ produce because we are paying international prices. When I lived in Sydney over thirty years ago our NZ rump steak was cheaper there than in NZ now that is wrong.

  5. ( Can I be bothered…? )
    Looks like it.
    AO/NZ’s ‘trade’ isn’t about trade per se. It’s about personal wealth creation post the farm gate and just before the gnashing teeth of the consumer.
    Once our export produce leaves the producer ( farmer ) that produce becomes part of a Kiwi-As rort spanning the globe.
    Less than a dollar a kg for AO/NZ’s wool, the best wool in the world I might add becomes a hagglers feeding frenzy in the auction rooms.
    And that’s just wool. Watties? What’s your explanation for AO/NZ exporting fruits and vegetables to AU then?
    Sire James? Hello ? I know you’re dead but they say that death is the briefest state.
    Wikipedia:
    Sir James Wattie CBE (23 March 1902 – 8 June 1974) was a New Zealand clerk, accountant, company manager, industrialist, philanthropist and race-horse owner.
    What a guy huh? What a big man. I remember the summer when we could no longer expect to buy the wondrous 1st grade fruits from the road side stalls in Central Otago because wattie used the apple and pear marketing board to make it illegal for growers to sell export grade produce to the AO/NZ public. It must be sent in cans via watties to over the seas. HELLO? Jimmy? Are you there?
    Shoppers? Buying fruits? You think that fruit is first grade? That tiny, tasteless, leathery, once was frozen friuit? The fruit you can’t afford to buy to give to your kids waiting on dentistry?
    Here’s one? That ‘prime beef mince’ you can’t afford? That’s ground up dairy cow and their flesh is ‘prime’ because the poor old cow was skinny as fuck when she was slaughtered after getting pregnant year in year out while standing tits deep in freezing mud just to put the milk in your fucking latte.
    This, all of this. This debating, the politics, the meetings and furrowed brow intensity is entirely wank. All of it.
    The complex high puffery of [it] is a rendering of bull shit stuccoed onto our sequestered brains like plaque on a heart valve.
    All of you? You’re being bullshitted.
    Back in the day the bull shit was scripted to hide the piracy that was those making billions from sequestering agrarian export commodities monies in that gap between the farmer and the consumer while today the bullshit is plastered about to make sure that high thievery is never questioned to put the urban High Falooters, their traitorous Natzo country cuzzies and their fortunes and their knighthoods at risk.
    RCEP? Bullshit.
    TPPA? Bullshit.
    AO/NZ farmers? Hook up with these guys?
    http://www.agricoop.nic.in/
    Not these traitors:
    MPI. AKA Bullshit artists.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ministry_for_Primary_Industries_(New_Zealand)

    • Yes you write beautiful comments and I love reading them.
      But farmers are playing the property game as much as anyone.
      So cut the BS about what happened 30 years ago, and see the reality for what it is.
      Tax free capital gains and that is what is being farmed.

  6. The other issue for these trade deals is that they introduce more ways for other companies and individuals to get NZ visas, and buy up property and assets, influence our politics and bring more ‘workers’ over as tourists, students, etc… .. Free trade agreements are dictating visas into NZ for example in the China upgrade…

    “Movement of Natural Persons
    The FTA Upgrade will make adjustments to the chapter on Movement of Natural Persons of the existing FTA, to reallocate the visa allocations for “iconic Chinese occupations”. The overall visa cap of 800 places will remain unchanged, but the allocations within the existing five categories have been redistributed. In particular, there will be:
     an increase for Chinese Tour Guides (from 100 to 200 places)
     an increase for Mandarin Teaching Aides (from 150 to 300 places); and
    a corresponding decrease to other, less utilised categories (Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Wushu Martial Arts Coaches).
    In addition, the existing Chinese Tour Guide category will be broadened to “Chinese Tourism Specialist”. New eligibility criteria will be introduced that are designed to make it easier for New Zealand businesses to employ suitably qualified staff through this visa category.”

    In the face of spying and security – a good way to get the right people into NZ from the PRC point of view and to have another country controlling NZ visas using Free Trade Agreements.

  7. Blocked on both Labour’s and Jacinda’s Facebook pages now .. an achievement for sure.

    Strange how soo00oo many hate the truth.

    It’s ok, I’ll start my own news service .. WITH A FOCUS ON HOUSING and Monetary Policy. Should be able to have it up and running heading into next year.

    Bad Move U-Turn Ardern, Bad Move.

  8. I’ve just read this on The Guardian.
    George Monbiot.
    “The British government’s first disaster of 2021? A food shortage”
    Yep. You read it right.
    We were the first to refrigerate shipping to Europe and Britain then the jackles moved in and now we’re having to sell milk powder to the Chinese and we’re drowing in cow piss.
    Yes. There’s a very real chance that the UK’s going to run out of food.
    I had to say that slowly to myself to have it sink in.
    Our farmers can, it’s been written here before, grow enough food in a year to feed 40 million people.
    Does anyone have a sturdy pigeon? A strapping lad of a bird that could fly to England with a wee message?
    Because clearly our MPI have no other contact to say here we are and we grow lots and lots of lovely food.
    How about we write something like this for example?
    ” Yoo Hoo !? I say, yoo hoo ? Remember us before you and we were fucked by Kiwi traitors? Say yes please and thank you very much and give the wee pigeon a small snort of coke to help with the return flight would you? Cheers and tally ho! AO/NZ”
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/nov/17/british-government-food-shortage-uk-fresh-europe-ports-storage-space

    • Easy to get a food shortage, the truck drivers just go on strike to stop food coming into London. Happened in 1997… and since then a few more times… after the 2nd world war London tried to encourage allotments to grow food, but probably post Thatcher they have more people crammed high rise buildings and not much provision if anything goes wrong.

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/20168.stm

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