At a glance: The pros and cons of the TPP

United States Trade Representative Michael Froman (C) is flanked by international counterparts during the closing press conference after an agreement was reachef by twelve Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) member countries (AAP)
United States Trade Representative Michael Froman (C) is flanked by international counterparts during the closing press conference after an agreement was reachef by twelve Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) member countries (AAP)

Tomorrow the partners to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will sign the agreement that's been called the biggest trade deal in a generation.

But what is the TPP? You could read the full text of the document, which is 6000 pages long, but here is a brief rundown of the pros and cons.

After five years of secret negotiations what have we ended up with? The TPP is more of a trade club than a free trade deal. Is belonging to the club important?

The countries already buy $28 billion of our goods and services, and the club will bring new agreements with big players like Japan, Canada, the US, Mexico and Peru.

China, our second biggest trading partner, has opted out, but we already have an agreement with them.

It's estimated our exporters will pay nearly $260 million less in tariffs, and we're only losing $20M in tariffs we charge other countries.

The TPP will add $2.7 billion to our economy by 2030 -- a big number, but it's just one percent of GDP.

Prime Minister John Key says it's better to be in the club, as opposed to standing outside, but there are plenty of protesters who prefer it on the street.

A small welcoming committee will be in Auckland for Trade ministers coming to put pen to paper. Their message is clear, but business does like it, so what are the pros and cons?

First up, tariffs to reduce by $259 million -- is that good enough?

"Absolutely, absolutely we have been trying for years to get free trade deals with the United States and Japan particularly" says Business New Zealand's Catherine Beard.

University of Auckland economics lecturer Tim Hazeldine says it will be less than that, especially since dairy didn't get such a good deal.

"I thought it was about 40 bucks, a case of Speights for every child and their parent in the land," he says.

There are also questions over claims it will add $2.7 billion to the economy.

"Isn't it a big figure?" says Mr Hazeldine. "I can't find out -- actually I can find out -- they made it up. There has been no proper modelling done."

But business isn't concerned.

"If you are not in, it sends a real chilling effect across your exports, all of those high-value markets," says Ms Beard.

One of the big issues that has been raised is -- can corporations sue our government? The answer is yes.

"We are talking big, non-state corporations and giving them the right to possibly sue the New Zealand Government in a non-state, less formal tribunal," says Mr Hazeldine.

But should we be worried?

"Really if you have, like New Zealand does, an open and transparent legal system, our contracts mean what they say they mean; there are no government flip-flops, regulatory flip-flops," says Ms Beard. "There is nothing to be concerned about."

Finally, why are Māori so upset about the deal?

"The deal will be very good for Māori because they are now big owners of primary sector exports," says Ms Beard.

But Ngāpuhi leaders say they feel left out and don't believe their rights are being protected.

"I can see it will benefit a sector of New Zealand, but what sector will it benefit and specifically when it comes to Māori and look at the statistics, it's no wonder they are suspicious," says Ngāpuhi elder Dover Samuels.

The deal may be inked tomorrow, but the distrust won't disappear.

Newshub.

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