US/NZ Free Trade Agreement - Learn From Experience

Published: Thu 3 Dec 2009 03:34 PM
Chief Reporter
US/NZ Free Trade Agreement
Learn From Sad Experience Of US’ “Chief Ally”.
New Zealanders who kid themselves that “we” stand to gain from a Free Trade Agreement with the US would be wise to reflect on the rueful words of Sir Christopher Meyer, Britain’s Ambassador to the US in the runup to the US/UK invasion of Iraq. Speaking to the current public Inquiry into Britain’s part in that invasion and war: “Meyer expressed frustration that Britain was unable to gain much diplomatic leverage from its position as the US’ chief ally. Britain failed to persuade the US to liberalise trans-Atlantic air travel and, almost on the day when British commandoes joined the fighting in Afghanistan, the US imposed tariffs on imports of specialised British steel” (Press, 28/11/09). If this is the way that the US treats its “chief ally” when it comes to protecting its own trade and economic interests, how do you think little old NZ will get on?
Prime Minister John Key has already confirmed that NZ “must be prepared to make concessions”, saying that the US will have its own “shopping list... You can’t rule out Pharmac – it’s been on the list before. You can’t rule out issues of intellectual property and investment. All of those things will inevitably be part of the negotiations” (Press, 17/11/09; “Concessions needed for US deal, Key”).
You bet they will have a shopping list and that NZ will have to make concessions. Such an Agreement will (among other things):
• Remove any remaining “restrictions” on foreign investment, as the US regards NZ’s (purely token) oversight regime as “discriminating” against US transnational corporations
• push up the price of medicines by potentially hundreds of millions of dollars a year by attacking Pharmac;
• make access to digital recordings more expensive, and copying more restricted;
• attack our GE controls and food labelling,
• weaken our controls on food imports where they might carry diseases.
We have been warned.

Next in New Zealand politics

On Whether This Election Is Already A Foregone Conclusion
By: Gordon Campbell
Newshub-Reid Research Poll Shows National Rising But Labour Still Governing Alone
By: Mediaworks
SFO Files Charges In Relation To NZ First Foundation Donations
By: Serious Fraud Office
Business Leaders’ Confidence Tanks As Top Kiwi CEOs Vent Their Frustrations
By: New Zealand Media and Entertainment
Taking Action To Reduce Waste And Plastics
By: New Zealand Labour Party
On Last Night’s Leaders Debate
By: Gordon Campbell
Dunne Speaks: The Election Campaign Just Grinds Slowly On And On
By: Peter Dunne
Electoral Commission: Candidate And Party Lists Released
By: Electoral Commission
National Releases Its Plan To Restore NZ’s Prosperity
By: New Zealand National Party
The 2020 New Zealand Election Is Not A Foregone Conclusion.
By: Keith Rankin
Overseas Voting Starts On Wednesday
By: Electoral Commission
Politicians To Go Head To Head On Education Issues In Election Debate
By: NZEI Te Riu Roa
New Zealand First Fully Exonerated Of All SFO Charges
By: New Zealand First Party
Links to two judgments in the SFO's NZ First Foundation case
By: New Zealand High Court
Green Party Responds To NZ First Foundation SFO Charges
By: Green Party
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILE © Scoop Media