More must be delivered on trade | Josie Pagani

JOSIE PAGANI

STRAIGHT AND TRUE

More must be delivered on trade

This week New Zealand agreed to be part of Biden's ‘’new trade deal that’s not a trade deal’’ – the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF). It's a vegan sausage. We have agreed to ‘’serious discussions’’ in ‘’working groups’’ on stuff like supply chain resilience, common rules for the digital economy, clean energy, and anti-corruption. We need a formal agreement to talk about these topics like a vegan sausage needs a bicycle.

The IPEF is the CPTPP without any of the good bits – like tariff-free market access and proper, enforceable rules on subjects including the environment, labour rights and climate. It gives the US cover to pretend it is engaging in trade talks, while telling voters at home, ‘’we're just pretending’’.

Instead of using her considerable international star power to charm Stephen Colbert on late-night TV this week, our PM should use it to persuade the US to come back to the CPTPP. We won't sign your ghost trade deal until you sign our real one. The TPP had to be rebranded as the Comprehensive and Progressive TPP (CPTPP) because Justin Trudeau in Canada and Ardern had won office on outrageous pledges not to sign it. However, the rose with another name smells as sweet. The prime minister should tell the US president that she had believed the terrible things about TPP too, but they never happened.

Read Josie's Stuff column here.