Trade agreement package questioned

| February 17, 2014

The New Zealand government has blocked an attempt by Labour to have parliament ask for the release of the full agreed text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement before it is signed, according to an Independent Newspapers story.

Labour leader David Cunliffe said he was “disappointed, but not surprised.”

One of the immediate, specific worries over the treaty concerns the issue of standardized packaging for tobacco products.

“There may be benefits for New Zealand exporters in the agreement but without the release of the full text, we have no way of knowing their extent and nature,” said Cunliffe.

“The government must also reveal whether or not the text makes it more likely New Zealand could be sued by multinational corporations such as tobacco companies.”

But Trade Minister Tim Groser said he would not negotiate the agreement “through the media.”

“We’ll look at any proposal, but the No. 1 thing for the New Zealand government to ensure is that it doesn’t limit any future New Zealand government’s ability to legislate on public health,” said Groser.

Groser said the government was “fully expecting” a legal challenge over standardized packaging regardless of the TPP agreement.

Category: Breaking News

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