Mon, 03 Feb 2014
NEW ZEALAND - The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) must include total elimination of tariffs on agricultural and seafood products, according to leading New Zealand food producers.
A coalition of 18 New Zealand agricultural and food organisations, led by Beef + Lamb New Zealand and Fonterra Cooperative Group, has written to the Ministers of Trade and Primary Industries outlining its concern that some TPP members are seeking to avoid tariff elimination on some products.
The letter sets out to Ministers Tim Groser and Nathan Guy that the coalition will not support a TPP agreement that does not include comprehensive liberalisation in the agricultural and seafood sectors by all participating countries.
The group says it is vital that the agreement provides comprehensive tariff elimination as set out in the objectives of the 2011 TPP Leaders meeting in Honolulu. The group is concerned that:
• If any one country is allowed to claim exceptions for sensitive products, other TPP partners will inevitably demand the right to do the same. This could quickly lead to the unravelling of the agreement.
• Allowing any one country to claim an exception for “sensitive” products sets a dangerous precedent for other countries in the Asia –Pacific region seeking to join the TPP Agreement at a future date.
A Ministerial meeting to discuss TPP issues is expected to be held in late February 2014.