Labour would welcome the chance to negotiate a Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact if it did not get United States approval this year, leader Andrew Little said on Tuesday.
In a major speech on international affairs in Wellington, Little underscored Labour’s continuing “engagement” and his rejection of “isolationism”, despite the party’s opposition to the TPP in its current form, saying it was proudly a free trade party.
It used to be. Actions count more than words and Labour has turned its back on 25 years of bipartisan support for trade agreements.
He said the 12 country trade agreement, which includes Japan and the US, offered a weak deal on dairy.
But he said the question could become moot. If the US does not ratify it, it would die – and both Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton were opposed to the TPP.
“It’s getting too late for President Obama to try to pass it before he leaves office. Congress already defeated him once on trade this year, and something big needs to change before he’ll risk being defeated again,” Little said.
“If TPP doesn’t progress this year, Labour would welcome the chance to be part of resumed negotiations leading to an agreement that does away with more tariffs, without curtailing the ability of countries to make laws in their own interests.”
Little is in fairy land. Trump and Clinton are against TPP because they say countries like NZ and Australia got too good a deal at the expense of the US. Their constituencies don’t want any tariff reductions at all.
If TPP does not pass in the lame duck session of Congress, it is dead as a door knob. It won’t be renegotiated.