CPTPP tariff deals come into force

  • 31/12/2018

The first part of the revamped the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, now known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), has just come into force.

Tariffs for New Zealand exporters will start dropping over the next few months.

 "The CPTPP has the potential to deliver an estimated $222 million of tariff savings," said Trade Minister David Parker.

More than half of that will come in the first 12 months. There are different dates for each country to start cutting tariffs - Japan, Canada and Mexico have already, with further cuts to come, and Vietnam starts later in January.

Brunei, Chile, Malaysia and Peru will cut theirs after they've ratified the CPTPP in their respective parliaments.

The CPTPP made it over the line after the US withdrew. Export NZ executive director Catherine Beard says we still have a solid relationship with the US, however.

"Trade with the United States is actually going pretty well. Of course we would like to have the US back in the CPTPP, but that's ultimately up to the United States."

Ms Beard says the US prefers doing deals with individual countries, which Ms Beard says we should stay away from.

"The concern for New Zealand if we were to go down that path is we would end up in a bit of a David and Goliath situation - we don't have a lot of bargaining power."

Export NZ says wine, beef and forestry are some of the areas that will benefit the most.

"[It] leads to exporters being able to increase their operations and employ more people - and a lot of those new jobs will be in the regions, because that's where a lot of our big agri-exporters are based," says Ms Beard.

The US-less CPTPP still has its detractors, however.

"Despite the hype about changes that protect future regulation from potentially crippling investment disputes, the governments of Japan, Canada and Singapore refused to sign side-letters that would exclude New Zealand from the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) regime," said critic Jane Kelsey, a law professor at the University of Auckland.

"In Opposition, Labour called the economic case that was made for the original deal 'flawed', when the US was still part. The justification is even shoddier now."