Statement by the United States | New Zealand Council at the Auckland Round of TPP Negotiations

December 2012

As the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations begin the Auckland Round, members of the United States | New Zealand Council applaud the leadership and urgency that the governments of the United States and New Zealand have invested in this critical regional initiative.

The US | NZ Council is dedicated to strengthening relations between the United States and New Zealand.  Given this mission, we view the TPP as a unique opportunity to link our countries more closely and to enhance our shared economic interests in the Pacific.

U.S. negotiators have rightly emphasized that the TPP should be comprehensive in scope, set the highest possible standards, and encourage deeper integration of supply chains within the eventual free trade area.  Today’s U.S.-New Zealand trade relationship provides “real world” relevance to these broad concepts.  This is important; translating the conceptual TPP goals into examples of tangible benefits is critical to gaining and maintaining support for the agreement.

In this regard, the US | NZ Council offers the following illustrations of how shared U.S.-New Zealand experiences can help negotiators complete a TPP pact.

Promoting and protecting innovation and creativity is a hallmark of success in U.S.-NZ trade and investment.  Collaborative R&D initiatives are leading to exciting discoveries and commercial applications in nanotechnology and cancer care.  Business partnerships in high-tech movie production are creating well-paying jobs on both sides of the Pacific.  Consumers are benefiting from the increasing availability of digital content.  These and other examples of innovation-led trade relations between our two countries demonstrate the importance of strong intellectual property rules, effective protection of content in the online environment, regulatory transparency, and open access to financial and capital markets.

Quality, safety and sustainability are values that are emphasized daily in the flow of goods between the United States and New Zealand.  New Zealand’s global leadership in efficient, market-driven agricultural production and the United States’ focus on safeguarding the food supply are both major elements in the TPP.  The TPP presents opportunities to advance high standards in food quality and safety, and to expand access for competitively produced food.

Businesses in the United States and New Zealand are blazing trails in environmental sustainability, particularly in areas such as biomass fuels and geothermal power generation.  These tangible achievements offer proof of the promise of the TPP.  Likewise, by continuing to make the case for disciplines on harmful fishing subsidies in the TPP and for trade liberalization of environmentally-friendly goods in APEC, U.S. and New Zealand negotiators are leading some of the most important environmental issues under debate.

Small and medium enterprise (SME) issues are another TPP priority where the United States and New Zealand have made meaningful advances.  Much of our bilateral trade is conducted by small and medium enterprises.  These U.S. and NZ exporters of goods and services have been making inroads into each other’s markets for years.  TPP negotiators can use these success stories as a guide to ensure that the TPP will include mechanisms to make the agreement’s benefits accessible to small and medium size businesses.

Regulatory coherence and cooperation is vital to a successful TPP agreement because these are issues that can enhance or paralyze any trade relationship.  While we understand that no agreement can be expected to eliminate every regulatory divergence, U.S. and NZ companies are positioned to expand trade  –  and create more and better jobs in both countries  –  if the TPP encourages regulators to minimize unnecessary differences wherever possible.  This is an area where our two countries a record of successful cooperation.

These are just a few examples of how today’s U.S.-New Zealand trade relationship can be a prologue for tomorrow’s successful TPP.

We are proud of the contributions that U.S. and NZ companies are making to a strong, vibrant bilateral relationship  –  a relationship that demonstrates “real world” benefits of mutuality and complementarity.  The TPP can take that strength and vibrancy to the next level, build strategic ties to other trading partners throughout the Asia-Pacific region, and create a magnet for broader trade liberalization.

The US| NZ Council urges both U.S. and NZ negotiators to draw upon our shared experiences, creativity, and interests to bring the TPP negotiations to a successful completion in 2013.