“TPP has the potential to transform the way we do business” – CEO BusinessNZ

Phil O’Reilly, Chief Executive of New Zealand’s largest business advocacy group – BusinessNZ, came out strongly in support of TPP at Friday’s stakeholder day.

“For a small economy like NZ, which depends for its economic survival on doing business with the rest of the world, the growth in trade in the APEC region has been a powerful factor in helping us withstand the worth of the global economic crisis”.

That growth saw trades in the APEC region grow from $1.5 trillion USD in 1989 to $9.9 trillion in 2010. “TPP can absolutely accelerate the growth of intra-APEC trade & investment”, said O’Reilly. The capacity for TPP to have significant effects on domestic economies and policy settings made negotiating a deal more complex than a conventional trade agreement.

O’Reilly shared Kim Campbell’s sentiment?that if the deal was not right for New Zealand, it was the right move to walk away.?”The end point of the tariff elimination programme should be zero for all sectors and with rules of origin which actually allow trade to occur.”?Prime Minister John Key has earlier stated that New Zealand will not sign TPP unless it contains significant improvements in market access for all goods including agriculture.

“New Zealand’s current regime meets generally applicable international standards” said O’Reily, who also said that any improvements in the context of domestic legislation should be acceptable in a TPP context. That came with a disclaimer however that “modifications regarding copyright and pharmaceuticals need to be carefully considered in a domestic context”.

O’Reilly highlighted the need for TPP to improve investment provisions to meet the needs of businesses operating in the region. Transparency and non-discriminatory practices topped the list here. The ability to regulate and protect public interests was also of importance, with public health, the environment and the Treaty of Waitangi all areas that required consideration.

“The free flow of trade, clearer rules, lower costs, and greater ease and certainty for business can all play their part in helping business create the foundations of new growth and job in New Zealand and the wider region.”

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