Cooks could gain from TPP

Tuesday October 13, 2015 Written by Published in Health
The Trans-Pacifi c Partnership (TPP) agreement between the 12 Pacifi c Rim countries including New Zealand and Australia is likely to reduce the price of pharmaceutical products in these two countries. A trade offi cer says Cook Islands could also benefit from the agreement. The Trans-Pacifi c Partnership (TPP) agreement between the 12 Pacifi c Rim countries including New Zealand and Australia is likely to reduce the price of pharmaceutical products in these two countries. A trade offi cer says Cook Islands could also benefit from the agreement. PHOTO: Windsor Medical Centre

THE COOK Islands could benefit from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement between the 12 Pacific Rim countries, including New Zealand and Australia.

While the agreement is between the top nations in the Pacific Rim, benefits can trickle down to small countries such as the Cook Islands which share a cosy relationship with some of these nations.

The agreement which was reached earlier this month after five years of negotiation and concerns over matters of economic policy.

Cook Islands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration trade officer Danny Williams said while he could not comment specifically on the gains, generally the country would benefit from such an agreement.

He said the Cook Islands would benefit from access to a broader range of commodities that would be cost-competitive.

Williams said the Cook Islands could also look at taking advantage of linking into value-added chains to better promote its commodity interests, as well as gaining access to potential “on-flow investment.”

“The Cook Islands should also enjoy improved trade facilitation and flexibilities to trade, investment and services.”

Other countries involved in the TPP agreement are the US, Singapore, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru and Vietnam.

Dubbed the biggest trade agreement in history, TPP makes up about 40 per cent of the global economy, with economic output of almost NZ$44.72 trillion.

New Zealand is expected to save about $259 million annually from tariffs due to be eliminated on 93 per cent of its trade with its TPP partners.

The country’s dairy industry is set to be the biggest winner, while reduced tariffs on a number of items will help Australian manufacturers.

Australia and New Zealand have also successfully pressured the US to compromise on the amount of time pharmaceutical companies would get protection for new biotech drugs ,which could lead to cheaper drug prices and more competition.

What is TPP?

How did it start? With a trade agreement signed 10 years ago between Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore.

How big is it? The 12 countries have a population of about 800 million and are responsible for 40 per cent of world trade.

What are the criticisms? That negotiations have been conducted in secret, and that TPP favours big corporations.

Who benefits most? Japan stands to reap huge economic benefits from the deal, while for the US it is an important strategic move.

What happens next? The agreement will need to be ratified by each of the individual member countries.

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