Recommended Sponsor - Buy Original Artwork Directly from the Artist

Source: It’s Our Future New Zealand

Trade Minister O’Connor along with trade ministers from twelve other countries and their US counterparts met in Los Angeles on 8 and 9 September to launch negotiations for a US-driven “Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity” (IPEF).[1]

“This is the first time they have given any real indication of what the US plans for its four pillars, named as trade; supply chains; clean economy; and fair economy (tax and anti-corruption). Even now, it’s extremely vague and ambiguous”, said Edward Miller, spokesperson of Its Our Future New Zealand, that led the campaign against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).

“Past references to “inclusive” and “progressive” trade agendas have consistently ended up empowering corporations and disempowering democratic governments, we have no reason to believe this will be any different”, said Miller.

“Already it looks like they are ignoring calls for openness and democratic participation and plan to continue negotiations in secret”.

Forty-six community organisations from a number of participating countries endorsed a letter to the Ministers calling for greater transparency and rejection of failed past trade models. (A full copy of the letter is here.)

Even senior members of US Congress have complained of being denied information about the US-led process.

“This secrecy is utterly unacceptable. Following the debacle of the TPPA, the Labour Government promised a new era of openness in trade negotiations. Since then, they have rolled over the same old model with a few largely unenforceable nods to ‘inclusion’. There is a high level of mistrust about what it will agree to behind closed doors.”

Mr Miller has made an Official Information Act request on behalf of It’s Our Future to establish whether New Zealand has agreed to a similar secrecy pact with the US for the IPEF as it did for the TPPA.

If they have, he promises that “New Zealanders will campaign vigorously against anything that shuts our people out of this process.”

[1] Participating countries are the US, Australia, Brunei, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam