Sunday Star-Times

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.

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