As the date for the signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership in Auckland draws nearer, local and international commentators are making their views heard, with Washington-based analyst and director of public citizen global trade watch Lori Wallach saying it is unlikely the agreement will go ahead.
Wallach, who has been visiting New Zealand where the agreement is set to be signed on February 4, told Larry Williams on Newstalk ZB that although studies around the agreement showed New Zealand would be one of the 'winners', the studies had ignored significant downsides to the agreement.
"Statistically the big winners are Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore - you have a projection of a small increase in gross national product, the problem is to get that you have to assume things like full employment and no income inequality," Wallach said. "Your government is only looking at the upsides."
Wallach is in New Zealand lobbying against formalising the agreement, and says that any country that rushes into signing the deal will end up in an embarrassing situation of having to make more concessions or approving something that hasn't been approved by other countries - although according to the analyst, the agreement was still unlikely to go ahead.
"The TPPA cannot get through the US congress as it is," Wallach said. "Under the certification system the agreement won't get voted on or go into effect until the US congress is satisfied."
According to research by the World Bank, the trade agreement would boost exports by ten per cent, but Wallach said this again was based on overly optimistic figures.
"If you continue to read the study what they basically look at is the difference in what your growth rate would be, because you're also going to have a lot more imports and a lot more land bought up by foreign investors," she said.
"According to that study, New Zealand over 25 years when it's fully implemented could have an increase of GDP that is 2.5 per cent higher but the assumptions that were made to get there aren't right."
Trade Ministers from around the Asia-Pacific will converge on SkyCity on February 4 for the signing ceremony.