The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a free trade deal that would liberalise trade and investment between 12 Pacific-rim countries: New Zealand, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam. It was signed by all 12 countries on February 4 last year in Auckland, but has not yet come into force.
Why would we want it?
The Government and supporters claim the TPP would give New Zealand better access to globally significant markets, diversify New Zealand's trade and investment relationships, and provide a platform to build on the $28 billion of New Zealand goods and services exported to TPP countries in 2014. In general, the trade deal is expected to increase the wealth of New Zealand by boosting exports into powerful economies. Many see that the deal would create opportunities for Kiwi businesses to sell their products to markets in the Pacific rim countries without paying tariffs.
What do the opponents say?
Opposition to the deal has been widespread, with fears the agreement would diminish New Zealand's sovereignty and challenge its democracy. There are concerns around the opportunity the TPP would give corporations to sue the New Zealand Government if they feel the deal isn't being upheld. University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey previously said that more than 1600 US companies, the most litigious in the world, would gain new rights they could enforce through private offshore tribunals should regulation damages their value or profits. She said the agreement guarantees foreign states and corporations a right of input into regulatory decisions, which Maori, trade unions, small businesses and local government would not have.
What's the latest with the deal?
In one of his first acts as President of the United States, Donald Trump withdrew from the TPP. However, New Zealand's Prime Minister Bill English has said some form of free trade agreement could still go ahead without US involvement.