NZ cops blame as TPP talks fail
Pacific Rim trade ministers seem to be playing the blame game after failing to clinch a trade deal between a dozen nations.
Disputes flared between Japan and North America over vehicles, New Zealand dug in over dairy trade and no agreement was reached on monopoly periods for next-generation drugs, after a week-long meeting in Hawaii on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Trade ministers negotiating the TPP, which would stretch from Japan to Chile and cover 40 per cent of the world economy, fell just short of a deal on Saturday.
Canadian Dairy Farmers president Wally Smith is blaming New Zealand for the delay.
‘‘New Zealand is being very obstinate . . . I am really surprised that this late in the end game, a country like New Zealand would not put a little water in its wine,’’ he said.
In a statement, New Zealand trade minister Tim Groser said he was disappointed that the negotiations were unable to reach a conclusion.
‘‘Good progress was made this week, but a number of challenging issues remain, including intellectual property and market access for dairy products.
‘‘We will continue to work toward a successful conclusion. This is about getting the best possible deal for New Zealand, not a deal at any cost.
‘‘I am confident that we will reach an agreement that is in the best interests of New Zealand when negotiations resume.’’
Former chairman of Beef + Lamb New Zealand Mike Petersen was disappointed at the lack of a result, but knew to get the best deal it would take a bit longer.
‘‘Obviously, the best outcome is to get a good deal. We need to get a better offer on the table.’’ Labour finance spokesman Grant Robertson said: ‘‘In some ways, this highlights a very big issue at play. New Zealand has been in these talks and if there isn’t anything in dairy, I don’t know what there is.
‘‘The Government needs to take the opportunity for more transparency with what is going on.’’
NZ First leader Winston Peters said he had predicted the talks would fail – but said New Zealand would eventually capitulate on diary.
‘‘They’ll get over it in the end. The rural US senator and congressman is out for a certain deal for their constituency. Unless they can get it this is going to fall over.
‘‘If the Government does its duty by the NZ dairy and health industry, no there won’t be a deal. But I do not expect them to stand up for New Zealand people, that’s why they got this deal so close.’’
The talks, which drew about 650 negotiators, 150 journalists and hundreds of stakeholders, had been billed as the last chance to get a deal in time to pass the US Congress this year, before 2016 presidential elections muddy the waters. The TPP seeks one-size-fitsall standards on issues ranging from workers’ rights to environmental protection.