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Trans Pacific Partnership allows New Zealand to protect public health

01 June 2012

Allegations that the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) will allow foreign tobacco companies to sue the New Zealand Government, highlight a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of the agreement and the stage negotiations are at, says the NZ US Council.

"The TPP is still in the midst of negotiation so conclusions should not be drawn on outcomes just yet,’ NZ US Council Executive Director Stephen Jacobi said.

“However, drawing on trade agreement precedents, its clear signatories will retain the right to protect public health.  It is inconceivable that suggestions TPP will undermine New Zealand’s ability to set its own health policies will come about. 

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

Drawing on investor state dispute provisions in other New Zealand and United States trade agreements, Mr Jacobi noted that before any private company could sue a host government, a number of conditions needed to be met.

“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.

The NZ US Council is a non-partisan body funded by both business and the Government to promote New Zealand’s broader relationship with the US.  Two-way trade with the US is valued at over $8 billion and the US is a leading source of investment, innovation and business ideas. The NZ US Council is actively engaged in co-ordinating business and government efforts towards concluding a comprehensive, high quality result to the TPP negotiations.

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