Barry Coates - TPP Negotiations Have Concluded But It's Not Over Yet!

Interviewed by Tim LynchOctober 21, 2015
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Even though Tim Groser and other governments Ministers reached agreement, the TPPA has not been finalised. There are further steps before ratification and many ways that the TPPA could still fail.

Under the US Fast Track law, President Obama has to give 90 days notice to Congress before he can sign the TPPA, and must make the text public 30 days into that period.

Meanwhile, members of the US Congress and the corporate lobbyists who are ‘cleared advisers’ will get to see the deal. They will be seeking to change what they don’t like and making new demands. That will be the first of many opportunities for them to seek to rewrite the ‘final’ deal. So the earliest that the TPPA could actually be signed is next February, and that would assume that all governments agree with the final tweaking. So there is time to mobilize!

See below for details on the nationwide marches on Saturday November 14th 2015.

Our government’s spin machine has been at work trying to dress up the TPPA as a huge achievement, but as more details filter out, despite the government’s obsessive secrecy, it is clear that this could just be a sell-out of New Zealand’s interests for small economic gain. The value of tariff reductions that phase in over 30 years will eventually amount to 1% of New Zealand’s current exports to TPPA countries. The costs are far higher, as Barry Coates explains in this interview, than the benefits.

The government says the TPPA is a 21st Century agreement. But the negotiations deliberately excluded the largest trading nation, China and most emerging economies. The TPPA entrenches the interests of multinational companies, and further concentrates wealth and power in the hands of the few.

Many of our councils have passed resolutions stating their concern over the TPPA. Last week Auckland Council passed a second resolution asking for more transparency and consultation, and asking about the impact on local government itself. In fact over 60% of New Zealanders live in areas where their councils have expressed serious concerns about this agreement. The government is showing no interest in ensuring any democratic process in these proceedings, however.

Barry makes it clear that those standing up against the TPPA are not necessarily anti trade but that it is more a movement about reclaiming the role of government in pursuing public interest. He says it is time to start regulating corporations who hide their wealth in tax havens. It is time to build a society around people, sustainability and the environment.

Barry Coates has campaigned for climate justice and fair and sustainable trade rules for more than 25 years. He was an NGO observer at the Earth Summit in 1992, and co-Chair of the Global Campaign for Climate Action (the tcktck campaign). While living in the UK, Barry chaired the campaign against the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) and the UK Trade Justice Movement. He returned to New Zealand as Executive Director for Oxfam New Zealand for October 2003 to March 2014. He chaired Make Poverty History Aotearoa, supported the Pacific in development and trade negotiations, and helped build a fair trade movement in New Zealand. Barry stood as a Green Party candidate for Mt Roskill in 2014 and is 16th on the list (just outside Parliament). Barry has an undergraduate degree in economics and a Masters in Management from Yale University. He is currently developing a programme on sustainability at the University of Auckland Business School.

*Details about the November 14th nationwide TPPA marches are on Facebook:

*More information on the TPPA can be found on It’s Our Future:

*Here is an article by Professor Jane Kelsey on why we need to continue fighting the TPPA

*This interview was sponsored by The Awareness Party.

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Tim Lynch

Tim Lynch, is a New Zealander, who is fortunate in that he has whakapapa, or a bloodline that connects him to the Aotearoan Maori. He has been involved as an activist for over 40 years - within the ecological, educational, holistic, metaphysical, spiritual & nuclear free movements. He sees the urgency of the full spectrum challenges that are coming to meet us, and is putting his whole life into being an advocate for todays and tomorrows children. 'To Mobilise Consciousness.'

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