Monday, November 14, 2016

Dead and buried

It's official: the TPPA is dead and buried:

President Barack Obama’s trade office is largely suspending its effort to pass his signature Asian free-trade deal before President-elect Donald Trump takes office, saying on Friday that it was up to Republican leaders in Congress to decide on a vote.

The U.S. Trade Representative’s office had been lobbying lawmakers for months to pass the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership deal in the post-election, lame-duck session of Congress. However, a stunning election that gave Trump the White House and retained Republican majorities in Congress has stymied those plans.

“We have worked closely with Congress to resolve outstanding issues and are ready to move forward, but this is a legislative process and it’s up to Congressional leaders as to whether and when this moves forward,” USTR spokesman Matt McAlvanah said in a statement.

On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would not take up TPP in the weeks before Trump’s inauguration and said its fate was now up to Trump. House Speaker Paul Ryan had earlier said he would not proceed with a lame-duck vote.

And that's that. Trump won't push it, so its dead and buried - as is the Trans-Atlantic Partnership, and probably TISA as well.

Meanwhile, our Parliament is pushing ahead with passing ratifying legislation. The good news is that the law - and its consequent changes to copyright terms and Pharmac - doesn't come into force unless the TPP does, so it'll just sit there as dead law. But you do have to wonder why they're wasting time on it.

As for the way forward, the TPPA began as a small trade deal between New Zealand, Chile, Brunei and Singapore. Efforts to gradually expand that to like-minded countries went wrong when the USA hijacked the party and ruined it, but we could still go back to that path and get some benefits without having to bend over for the copyright mafia. But I guess there's just no prestige in that for Ministers and MFAT deal-makers, so it'll never happen.