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Leaked investor state text is no threat to New Zealand sovereignty

14 June 2012

Assertions that leaked Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) investor-state text threatens New Zealand sovereignty are overblown according to the NZUS Council.

“Assuming the leaked text is authentic and recognising negotiations are on going, opponents of the TPP should take heed of the provisions stating very clearly that signatories will continue to be able to adopt, maintain and enforce legislation protecting the environment, health and labour safety,” said Mr Jacobi. 

Speaking more broadly and drawing on precedents in other trade agreements New Zealand has already signed which include investor state provisions, Mr Jacobi pointed out that these provisions protect businesses operating in foreign jurisdictions from actions such as arbitrary nationalisation. 

“Part of being an international citizen inevitably means we must accept limitations on Government actions.  New Zealand has done this in signing up to the World Trade Organisation, the World Health organization, the Kyoto Protocol, and a raft of other international agreements. 

“Just like other free trade agreements, the TPP will give smaller countries like New Zealand the protection of the rule of law. 

“New Zealand desperately needs the access to the markets, investment, jobs and other economic growth opportunities that the TPP will deliver.”

 He went on to point out that the number of actions actually taken is far fewer than those threatened, that governments mostly win actions taken against them, damages won from governments are far less than those sought and these actions only cover a tiny fraction of the investment flows around the world. 

“A successful TPP will provide tangible benefits for New Zealand business by eliminating tariffs and border restrictions, reducing business costs and speeding up the flow of goods, services and investment, while opening up new business opportunities.  TPP remains a work in progress but is well worth waiting for,” Mr Jacobi said.

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