Dec 19, 2007

US and New Zealand About To Enter FTA Negotiations

You read it first on The Hive over the weekend, with hints earlier last week. According to a story on Bloomberg, lobbyists in Washington have had confirmed to them the news that the US is planning to begin negotiations on joining the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership (also known as P4). According to this report the negotiations might start as early as January.

The Hive hears the same thing from New Zealand and Chile and can advise that David Walker, who has just completed negotiating the FTA with China, will be the Chief Negotiator of the new agreement on the New Zealand side. Walker was the Chief New Zealand negotiator of the original Trans Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership.

What is currently unclear is whether the existing P4 partners will be willing to begin negotiations just on investment. An earlier suggestion by the US to do just this was rebuffed initially by at least Chile. Singapore may also not have been that keen on a negotiation that just focuses on "rules governing foreign investment in areas such as express delivery, insurance and telecommunications" as the Bloomberg story is suggesting.