Last year Prime Minister John Key was asked whether the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement would include provisions that allow foreign companies to sue governments for passing laws that might affect their profits.
These provisions are common in other US trade agreements, such as NAFTA (an agreement between the US, Canada and Mexico), where governments have paid out US$326 million “compensation” to corporates.
Philip Morris is also using similar provisions to threaten countries that have introduced plain packaging of cigarettes.
John Key said in November last year that these ‘investor state dispute’ processes sounded far-fetched, ruling out these provisions.
Now, a US trade negotiator has said that was no longer New Zealand’s position.
In response to questions about New Zealand and Australian positions during a briefing to civil society groups in Washington on 31st January, the trade official said “New Zealand had retracted the Prime Minister’s statement. It is not their position.”