Content supplied by Federated Farmers
Having returned from the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Federated Farmers believes the logic for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is so strong and its advantages so apparent, that the absence of President Obama from negotiations will not unduly dent its progress.
“The talk at the WTO in Geneva was when the TPP will happen and not if,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President, who attended the WTO’s 2013 Public Forum where he co-presented the World Farmers Organisation’s new trade policy.
“Naturally, there was much talk about the United States Government shutdown and what that may mean if a default does take place in just nine-day’s time.
“I sense the Obama Administration is frustrated that domestic political brinkmanship means the President had to stay in Washington. The focus of his administration is building the U.S. economy by exports and that’s the focus of both Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and TPP negotiations. I must say that U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, is a handy substitute.
“We take great heart that Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, told Japanese media before he left for Indonesia that he wanted a favourable year-end conclusion to negotiations.
“I heard some comments made by anti-TPP groups that President Obama’s absence would torpedo the TPP. I find it hard to reconcile that with the officials and people I met. The only stumbling block would be a global economic crisis precipitated by a U.S government default.
“Having co-presented the World Farmers Organisation’s new trade policy at the WTO, there is a sense that global agriculture has to change to meet our word’s single biggest challenge; sustainably feeding billions more humans.
“In this respect the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries agri-tech study, which I got World Farmers Organisation endorsement for, is a bit of a breakthrough.
“By demystifying our farm system we make it easier for farmers around the world to see us as an ally and not a threat. That’s the thing about trade. The more you engage it makes the world a smaller and safer place.
“New Zealand may be a small country population wise but we are a farming power and seen as a global leader. We are encouraged that agriculture is being used as part of our wider diplomatic efforts and we are keen to help further that.
“It is a huge coup for New Zealand that the Prime Minister, John Key, replaced President Obama as chair for the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks,” Mr Wills concluded.