DAY OF ACTION 8 NOVEMBER 2014
On November 8 10,000 New Zealanders across the country came out and said loudly and proudly #TPPANoWay! These are the biggest rallies that have taken place against the TPPA anywhere in the world, and we got a huge amount of media coverage (see breakdown at the end of this bulletin)! On that day the #TPPANoWay hashtag trended No 1 in New Zealand and No 2 worldwide! Congratulations everybody, this is a genuine grassroots movement gaining steam by the day!
On 8-9 November negotiators met in Beijing on the sidelines of the APEC meeting to try and make further progress on the TPPA. Prime Minister John Key stated afterwards that the TPPA faces a crucial “window of opportunity” that will close in mid 2015 if no deal is done. The Wall Street Journal reported that Trade Minister Groser said that politicians had ‘informally “closed out” all but two major areas’ of negotiations (state-owned enterprises and investment). University of Auckland Law Professor Jane Kelsey suggested that if this was the case then “Key and Groser appear to have made these concessions without any substantial final offer on agriculture.”
Across town, Chinese President Xi Jinping presented a competing vision for Asia to counter the TPPA, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, along with his plan for two new “Silk Roads” (referring to two new energy corridors, one by land and one by sea. The race is on between the US and China to conclude their competing deals and make their mark on the Asia-Pacific region. Days later world leaders met at the G20 in Brisbane,
NZ businesses signal fighting fund
A few days after our protests ANZCO meat exporters chairman Sir Graeme Harrison revealed that NZ businesses are planning a “fighting fund” to sell the benefits of the TPPA once the deal is done. This means that our actions are making an impact. Read more here.
Lori Wallach on US midterm elections
The US midterm elections on November 4 saw sweeping gains being made by the Republican Party in the Senate and House. While the Republicans have traditionally been seen as the “pro-business” party, Lori Wallach explains in this NZHerald opinion piece that this will not necessarily allow the TPPA to be “fast-tracked” through Congress, as many Republicans see this as an executive power grab.
NZ-South Korea FTA
NZ was forced to compromise to get its FTA with South Korea over the line, failing to eliminate tariffs on milk powders. The deal was announced on the fringes of the G20 Summit in Brisbane. The text is not yet available, and critics highlight some similar concerns to TPPA. University of Auckland Law Professor Jane Kelsey has said that the deal’s investment chapter could “involve potentially major incursions on New Zealand governments’ right to regulate in the national interest.”
Australia and China have completed negotiations on a free trade agreement, a deal which Australian government sources have been saying secures better access for Australian dairy exports than New Zealand’s FTA with China. Minster Groser has said that the NZ deal signed in 2008 states that if China made a better agreement with another country it had to match that with New Zealand.
ITUC calls on governments to stop TPPA talks
The world’s largest democratic organisation, the International Trade Union Congress, has called on governments to stop TPPA negotations. The ITUC represents 176 million workers worldwide. ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrows said, “This secretive trade deal is good for some multinational corporations, but deeply damaging to ordinary people and the very role of governments. Corporate interests are at the negotiating table, but national parliaments and other democratic actors are being kept in the dark. What we do know, much of it through leaks, is that this proposed deal is not about ensuring better livelihoods for people, but about giving multinational companies a big boost to profits. Governments should shut down the negotiations, and not re-open them unless they get genuine and transparent public mandates at home that put people’s interest in the centre.”
Other items of interest:
Peasant farmers organisation GRAIN has written a brilliant piece on how trade and investment deals like TPPA criminalise traditional seed saving practices.
The Economist (of all places) has a great article on how Investor State Dispute Settlement clauses restrict policy space and the changing attitudes towards these agreements.
Here is an excellent video interview with Brendan Vickers discussing South Africa’s decision to terminate and renegotiate investment treaties that affecting their post-apartheid economic development plans.
The day received some very impressive mainstream and regional media coverage, including lead stories on both major free-to-air news networks. Thanks Sam for this exellent media breakdown:
Broadcast and online
- One News, lead item Sat 8 Nov
- 3 News, lead item Sat 8 Nov
- Maori Television
- 3 News, Firstline
- Newstalk ZB
- Radio NZ
- RadioLIVE Breakfast with Duncan Garner
- Dunedin Television 1] Nov 10 : 2] Nov 7
- Fairfax online
- APNZ/ Herald Online
- Sun Live Tauranga
- Waikato Times – 10 Nov
- Bay of Plenty Times – 10 Nov
- Rotorua Daily Post – 10 Nov
- Taranaki Daily News – 10 Nov
- Manawatu Standard –10 Nov
- Manawatu Standard - 28 Oct
- Dominion Post – 10 Nov
- Nelson Mail - 10 Nov
- Timaru Herald – 10 Nov
- Timaru Herald - 27 Oct