TRADE

TPP negotiations could open NZ up to US land grab

Monday 6 December 2010, 11:51AM
By Green Party
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New Zealand’s overseas investment regime will be on the United States’ hit list during the Trans Pacific Partnership talks this week, Green Party Co-Leader Dr Russel Norman said today.

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), the US agency responsible for developing trade policy, highlights in its latest report on NZ the fact New Zealand screens overseas investment of sensitive land.  This is seen as a barrier by the USTR.

“New Zealanders are concerned about losing control of our land and our economic sovereignty,” said Dr Norman.

“The US Government has now specifically identified the rules we place on overseas investment as a barrier to New Zealand’s involvement in Free Trade agreements with it.

“Our own Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade acknowledge this in their Factsheet on the TPP negotiations.

“Foreign investment screening is seen as a likely issue to come up in the Trans-Pacific negotiations.

“Our concerns are heightened by the fact that the Australians, as part of the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement negotiations, were forced to remove all screening of US foreign investment into Australia for any investment under A$800 million. The Australian Government no longer has the right to regulate almost all US foreign investment into Australia as a result.

“It’s time for John Key and Tim Groser to come out and publicly state that New Zealand will not weaken our overseas investment rules for the sake of getting the United States on board for the Trans Pacific-Partnership,” said Dr Norman.