Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker has welcomed the conclusion of negotiations for the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
Negotiators finalised the agreement in Tokyo on Tuesday and the 11 nations in the trade pact are due to sign it in Chile on March 8.
Mr Parker says the CPTPP could come into effect later in 2018.
The Government will now recommend the select committee examining the Overseas Investment Amendment Bill – which will put in place restrictions on foreign buyers of existing homes – allow more time for consideration.
The law must be in place before the CPTPP takes effect.
Mr Parker says the CPTPP represents a fairer deal for New Zealanders than the earlier TPP agreement.
It satisfies the five conditions the Labour-led Government set down for a revised TPP.
They included increased market access for exports, upholding the Treaty of Waitangi, protecting the Pharmac model and preserving the right to regulate in the public interest.
It also narrowed the scope to make Investor State Dispute Settlement claims.
“The CPTPP will provide New Zealand exporters with preferential access for the first time into Japan, the world’s third-largest economy and our fifth-largest export market.
“It will also be New Zealand’s first FTA relationship with Canada (our 13th largest export market), Mexico (21st), and Peru (46th),” Mr Parker says.
“The CPTPP is even more important to signatory countries given current threats to the effectiveness of the WTO and rising protectionism in many parts of the world.
“United States President Donald Trump has just announced a new 30 per cent tariff on imports of solar cells. This is but one example.”
Before the agreement is ratified, New Zealanders will be given the opportunity to better understand what it means for them, their families and the country.
“We are committed to ensuring this is done in a fair and accessible way,” Mr Parker says.
The 11 CPTPP countries are New Zealand, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore and Viet Nam.
National Party Trade spokesperson Todd McClay has welcomed news that an agreement on the TPP has been reached – and called on the Coalition Government to release the details of the agreement to the public as soon as possible.
“Signing the TPP will have huge benefits for New Zealand exporters and it’s great to see reports that an agreement has been reached and a deal will be signed on 8 March.
“The agreement was a huge focus for the previous government because it will open up improved access to hundreds of millions of consumers around the world.
National Party Workplace Relations spokesperson Amy Adams says the Labour-led Government’s employment law changes announced today can only slow down New Zealand’s high-performing job market.
“These changes will only reduce job opportunities and wage growth, especially for those vulnerable workers on the edges of the labour market. They also mean workers will have less flexibility to get their job done,” Ms Adams says.
The law as it stands encourages all businesses, small and large, to grow their workforces and take a chance on new workers and long-term unemployed people.
“While Labour have now partially backed down and allowed small businesses to continue with 90 day trials, they’ve still closed those trials off to the bigger businesses that take on many of these vulnerable workers. Those workers will have fewer opportunities,” she says.
“If 90 day trials are okay for small businesses, then why shouldn’t they apply to larger businesses as well?”
Ms Adams says that with New Zealand’s world-leading performance in job creation over the last few years, the onus was on the government to justify the need for the reforms.
“Under current employment law New Zealand has added a mammoth 245,000 jobs in the last two years and has the third highest employment rate in the developed world. Nearly 80 per cent of New Zealand workers are in full-time jobs and wages have been growing at twice the rate of inflation.
“These changes will only damage that track record. So why are they actually needed?
“New Zealanders will rightly suspect they are a random union wish list. People will be asking exactly how much influence these unions have in the current Government.”
She said the reforms will further damage business confidence and take New Zealand backwards. They will only disrupt New Zealand’s settled and successful employment law.
“That’s not good news for jobs or wages for New Zealanders.”