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US sabbatical to focus on US Government’s trade negotiation consultation processes

04 March 2013

Executive Director of the NZ US Council Stephen Jacobi has been awarded a Fulbright scholarship and leaves for Washington DC for a three-month sabbatical on 6 March, the NZ US Council has announced.

“This is a fascinating time to be going to Washington,” said Mr Jacobi.

“Not only is President Obama commencing his second term of office at time when the budget sequester risks derailing economic recovery, but the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations are entering what we hope will be their final phase. The President has also initiated new trade negotiations with the European Union which could have a number of indirect implications for New Zealand.”

While in the United States Mr Jacobi will be located at the Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies at Georgetown University and will undertake research into the way the US Government consults with business and other stakeholders on trade negotiations.

“Trade negotiations like TPP are becoming more complex than ever and it’s important that negotiators consult actively with business and other stakeholders to ensure they get things right. Trade negotiations are also more controversial than before and finding ways to include non-government representatives from business and civil society without compromising the prospects of concluding a deal is a major challenge.”

Mr Jacobi will spend his sabbatical meeting academics, business leaders, government officials and civil society stakeholders in Washington DC and will present a report on his return.

While Mr Jacobi is in the United States, NZ US Council’s Associate Director Suse Reynolds will assume responsibility for Council operations.

Funding for the sabbatical has been provided by Fulbright New Zealand.

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