The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)

The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) originated in the early 2000s under the New Zealand Labour Party.

By 2017 the TPPA was so unpopular that the Labour Party campaigned on rejecting their own project.

Labour Party election campaign graphic opposing the TPPA

Immediately after the 2017 election, Labour flip-flopped — rebranding the TPPA, now the CPTPP, and rushing it through.

According to David Parker (Minister for Trade and Export Growth) and Vangelis Vitalis in their talk[1] given at AUT on December 5th 2017, the base TPP document itself remains unchanged since the time the US was involved. What has changed is that a three-page amendment has been attached, suspending around 20 of the TPP's provisions. The TPP, including the three-page amendment, is now called the CPTPP. A number of the suspended provisions deal with things the US in particular pushed for, affecting copyright and patent systems.

The amendment allows for the suspended provisions to be reinstated. At around 45 minutes into the talk, someone in the audience asks David if that is correct. David replies:

``Yeah. That's a fair question, thank you, um, it's a fair question that there's a risk that some of these suspended provisions could come back in, and I might get, ah, Vitalis Vangelis to respond to that, but I would say that the likelihood of the US coming back any time soon is pretty remote. That doesn't mean to say that a future administration wouldn't want to, um, so [to Vitalis Vangelis] could you please go into the negotiation process at that time, in respect to the suspended provisions?'' [Vangelis then explains the process of re-enabling the provisions.]

According to David Parker in a Reuters article[2], the amendment has been designed specifically to facilitate the US re-joining the CPTPP at some point in the future:

``One of the ambitions of some of the TPP countries is to leave open the possibility that the United States could join later if they wanted to and some of the terms are being constructed in a way that assists that rather than hinders that''
— David Parker, November 2017

Update 2022-04-21:
We're hoping Japan will use its weight to encourage the US to come back to the CPTPP — reporter Jessica Mutch McKay on PM Ardern's meeting with Asian leaders. (Audio clip[3], TVNZ News at 6, April 21, 2022.)

Some friends (...and me...) blocking trains here in Ōtautahi (Christchurch) during one of many anti-TPPA protests around the country...

Photo from an anti-TPPA protest in Christchurch NZ

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