Source: Professor Jane Kelsey + New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser.
‘Today’s release of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement text ends the farcical situation where governments were touting the benefits for the nation with no prospect of any independent assessment to contradict them,’ said University of Auckland law Professor Jane Kelsey.
It is not clear whether this will also start the 90-day countdown before President Obama is allowed to sign the agreement under US law, or whether any of the other countries would sign unilaterally before the US does.
But, Professor Kelsey points out, ‘the legal text is not enough on its own. We need to see the background documents that help make sense of the text, but the parties have vowed to keep secret for effectively another six years.’
‘We also need the various analyses the New Zealand government has relied on when talking up the benefits and playing down the costs.
“They have been coy about who has done this work, especially the projections of $2.7b benefits for the economy, and stalled on Official Information Act requests to release them, despite the High Court’s rebuke last month,” Jane Kelsey said.
Jane Kelsey indicated that a further statement relating to the content of the text will be released later tonight.
Meanwhile the New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser issued the following statement welcoming the release of the Trans Pacific Partnership text.
Tim Groser stated that New Zealand released the text “on behalf of the twelve members of the TPP” and in its capacity as Depositary of the Agreement, New Zealand released the text of TPP.
“New Zealand supported the release of the text as soon as the technical work to finalise the Agreement was completed,” Tim Grocer said.
He said: “I am pleased that this has happened and that the public will be able to thoroughly review the full text of the TPP well before it will be signed by governments.
“This is a complex agreement, with 30 Chapters and associated annexes. The large number of documents released today amount to over 6,000 pages of text and market access schedules. Understanding the legal obligations of the TPP will require careful analysis of all documents, given the inter-relationship between many provisions in the Agreement.
“Legal verification of the text will continue in the coming weeks. The Agreement will also be translated into French and Spanish language versions. Both steps, as well as the Government’s consideration of the final outcome from negotiations, will need to be completed before signature takes place.
“Following signature, TPP, like any free trade agreement, will need to go through New Zealand’s Parliamentary processes,” said Mr Groser.
The Government has already released a number of fact sheets outlining the content of the TPP. Also released today is additional information on the estimated economic benefits of TPP on the New Zealand economy, and details on how potential costs associated with copyright and administrative provisions relating to PHARMAC have been arrived at.
In the coming days, the Government will also release a legal summary of the Agreement.
These documents, together with the full text, will be available at www.tpp.mfat.govt.nz/text
The joint statement can be found at: http://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/tpp-members-release-text-agreement