The red meat industry doesn’t want to see any delay to concluding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement this year. Leaders of the 12 nations involved in the agreement are meeting in Lima, Peru this week – the 17th round of negotiations aimed at sealing the final deal.
Business leaders across the Asia-Pacific who support the round are urging negotiators to tackle and resolve now, rather than later, the sensitive issues in the TPP talks in order to enable a comprehensive agreement to be reached by year’s end, as called for by the political leaders of the current 11 negotiating countries.
“The growth of our countries’ economics and the growth and support of jobs across the region – which a successful TPP will help foster – are top priorities of our business groups. The sooner an ambitious TPP can be agreed upon and implemented, the earlier those benefits can be realised,” says Carlos Chiappori, president of the Foreign Trade Society of Peru. “We urge the negotiators to maintain momentum in the talks as they – and soon their Japanese counterparts – address the issues that remain.”
The New Zealand International Business Forum (NZIBF) is one of the business groups calling for the redoubling of efforts to conclude the negotiations. Other groups include the American Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance, National Confederation of the Private Business Associations of Peru (CONFIEP), The Foreign Trade Society of Peru (COMEXPERU), Emergency Committee for American Trade, the US National Centre for APEC, the Singapore Business Federation, Chilean Federation of Industry (SOFOFA) and the Asia-Pacific Chamber of Commerce. These national business groups, representing thousands of companies and producers with millions of employees in their respective APEC economies, are united in their support of an expeditious and successful conclusion of the negotiations.
With the 11 TPP negotiating partners now supporting the entry of Japan into the TPP talks, the share of the Asia-Pacific economy covered by the accord will soon significantly increase, providing a foundation for the long-sought Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific,” says Kathleen Sullivan, executive director of the Canadian Agri-food Trade Alliance.
However, there is growing resistance to the deal in some of the countries because of potential issues affecting protection of intellectual property. pharmaceutical subsidies, foreign investment rules and other changes. A 31 New Zealand-born member group of consumer and lobby groups called the Fair Deal Coalition – founded by groups such as Consumer NZ, the Royal NZ Foundation for the Blind and the Telecommunication Users Association – is voicing its concerns about “keeping the internet open and free”, potential effects on copyright law and parallel importing.
Those concerns, and also Japan’s new addition to those around the table, could mean that a successful conclusion might be reached next year rather than this.
Japan welcomed to negotiations
After earlier signalling its intention to join the talks, Japan was finally welcomed into the negotiations at the end of last month. It joins the TPP partner countries: Australia, Brunei Darussalem, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam and the US. The move was welcomed by New Zealand business and industry.
“Japan has for some time been the missing link in terms of New Zealand’s network of free trade agreements in the region. Although we are already committed to negotiating with Japan in the context of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), TPP is a more ambitious negotiation and is already well underway and so we welcome Japan to both sets of negotiations which aim to deliver an even stronger economic partnership between both countries.”
Beef + Lamb NZ Ltd and the Meat Industry Association also described Japan’s inclusion as an important next step in expanding the reach of the negotiations..
“Japan’s inclusion in the TPP rounds off an exciting grouping of 12 countries from the Asia Pacific region with common interests in improving our collective trade opportunities. Together these countries account for a third of global beef production,” Bill Falconer, MIA chairman, noted.
“The TPP partners have committed to some ambitious outcomes for market access and the New Zealand red meat industry will not want to see any delay to the goal of completing the TPP deal this year,” he said.
The negotiations offer opportunities for all red meat exporting countries through improved market access, the elimination of tariffs and non-tariff trade barriers, said B+LNZ chairman Mike Petersen.
Meat is one of the major exports to the market alongside aluminium, wood, dairy products and fruit. Meat exports to Japan last year were worth $338 million which incurred approximately $93 million of tariff payments, according to B+LNZ. Approximately $76 million of these payments were incurred on New Zealand’s substantial beef trade, with New Zealand facing a 38.5 percent tariff rate, increasing to 50 percent in the event certain volumes were exceeded.
Japan is New Zealand’s fourth largest bilateral trading partner, with two-way trade worth $6.1 billion in 2011. Harrison also drew attention to the significant economic gains expected from TPP.
“Economic modelling suggests that adding Japan would increase the income gains from TPP by US$149 billion per year by 2025. The impact on New Zealand’s outcomes is, unsurprisingly, huge. By 2025, New Zealand’s income gain increases from US$2.9 billion to US$4.1 billion. New Zealand’s change in exports jumps from 4.7 percent to 6.8 percent above baseline.
“Even if the figures are half right, these are potentially significant gains which cannot be left on the table. Interestingly the greatest gains are likely to go to Japan itself as it lowers trade and investment barriers: incomes are forecast to rise by US$106 billion, or two per cent of GDP, by 2025, and exports by 12 per cent,” he said.
“All this of course depends on a successful outcome to the TPP negotiations and to the 12 partners sticking to the bold vision that has been set. We urge governments to do what is necessary to bring the negotiations to a timely and robust conclusion,” concluded Harrison.