I can’t wait for the TPP agreement to be signed

But mostly because I’m sick of it dominating the headlines and it doesn’t actually get anyone anywhere.

Talks by trade ministers involved in the Trans Pacific Partnership have been pushed out by a further day – a sign the agreement is on the verge of a breakthrough.
Prime Minister John Key leaves New York today while Trade Minister Tim Groser remains in Atlanta at the trade talks. Mr Key said those were due to end early this morning but had been pushed out to Saturday (Sunday NZT).

Mr Key said the deal would be worth it, but has recently been talking up the benefits of it non-dairy sectors and warning that it was not as favourable for dairy as other sectors.

“We model the tariff reductions, the change in quota access and all of the other ancillary benefits of free trade agreements. And we know in the case of China, the reduction in tariffs over a period of time were a bit over $100 million. And the other benefits were valued at over $1 billion. TPP is larger than that, even with the current dairy deal.”

He said while the Government had a responsibility to do the best it could for the dairy industry, it could not ignore benefits to other industries.

“There will be many other sectors that will be, on the basis we sign TPP, ecstatic about what happens.”

Media reports in the United States report that a deal is close and the US President Barack Obama had rung Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to discuss it. Dairy remains the main stumbling block from New Zealand’s point of view.

It is clear that New Zealand will not sign an agreement that isn’t expected to provide an overall benefit to the country, and apart from the cost of medicines going up for the taxpayer in general, we can but hope there isn’t a sting in the tail.

But the whole Media Party and Luddite-driven conspiracy panic has mirrored the same campaign against the GCSB where fear and ignorance were the driving factors.

Groser is going to go down as one of the country’s heroes or traitors, and I don’t think he wants to end his diplomatic career as having sold the family silver.