What the CPTPP means; Peters wants to help China's anti-corruption hunt

Apec leaders photocall in Vietnam. Photo: Getty

In this morning's email we looked in detail at the latest from the Apec and EAS meetings, including the resuscitation of the TPP trade deal, now brought back to life as the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

1. TPP reborn as CPTPP

It was an extraordinary weekend for the Trans Pacific Partnership and Newsroom's Sam Sachdeva was right there in Da Nang to report on its near-death experience and then rebirth.

We put out a news alert on Friday night with news of the collapse of discussions when Canada's Justin Trudeau didn't turn up to a key final session.

Then yesterday morning we put out Sam's full report on what was in (and what wasn't in) the reborn Comprehensive and Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

He reports the controversial clauses around Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), extended patents for biologics and 70 years of copyright after the creator's death have been suspended. The new CPTPP will also have to be put back through the select committee process and voted on in Parliament. The United States would also need the agreement of the rest of the TPP 11 to lift those suspensions.

In essence, the TPP has been shocked back to life, but with the most controversial bits put into suspended animation.

See Sam's full report on the deal here on Newsroom Pro, where it was first published yesterday morning.

The key aspect from New Zealand exporters' point of view is that beef exporters would get the same terms in Japan as Australia and better terms than their American competitors. Currently our beef exporters pay a 50 percent tariff and Australia pays 27 percent through their bilateral trade agreement with Japan.

Although there still remain doubts on when exactly the revised CPTPP will come into force, given it will have to go back through various Parliaments, and doubts remain over Canada's commitment as it struggles to keep America happy with some sort of revised NAFTA deal.

2. Do multi-lateral deals have future?

Meanwhile, the spectre of His Excellency President Donald J. Trump's 'America First' dogma hung over the Apec summit, thanks in large part to his presence and his rhetoric.

Once the dust settled on the re-worked CPTPP proposal, Sam took a look at the future of multi-lateral deals like the CPTPP.

He reports the struggles to get the deal across the line and other issues raise questions about obstacles to multilateral trade and what that means for New Zealand.

China is looking to take up the mantle of globalisation once championed by America (although its seriousness can be challenged), and the future of the World Trade Organisation is increasingly in doubt because of Trump's actions.

See Sam's full piece published here first on Newsroom Pro.

3. Helping China's anti-corruption 'fox hunt'

There were also plenty of meetings between foreign ministers on the fringes of the summit, including between Winston Peters and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Sam reports Peters pledged to help China track down escaped suspects of corruption, while failing to raise his pre-election concerns about the country’s growing influence in New Zealand.

Elsewhere in relation to the Jian Yang case, Peters said he had never wanted an inquiry into China’s influence in New Zealand.

“I raised two things, I said the fact the Australians had expressed serious concern and that this was, in terms of the Brady report, a highly internationally recognised thesis and finding - I didn't ask for a full-scale public inquiry and I’m not asking for one now.”

However, a press release issued by Peters on September 19, titled "China’s Growing Control in New Zealand Must Be Investigated", quoted Brady as saying “a special commission was needed to investigate China’s impact on our democracy”.

“China is quietly starting to dominate the lives of New Zealanders and clearly our economic direction – National must explain,” Peters said then.

Also on the issue of China's influence in New Zealand, Beijing-based economist Rodney Jones told Q+A's Jack Tame on Sunday that both major parties should agree not to have members of the Chinese Communist Party as MPs, or members of China's military intelligence.

"We should just have an agreement between both parties. We should have a bipartisan agreement between the major parties that a member of the Chinese Communist Party cannot be an MP. That someone who certainly worked for military intelligence cannot be an MP. That someone who is going to represent the interests of the Chinese Communist Party and not the interests of our Chinese community, our local community, should not be an MP," he said.

Tame also interviewed Canterbury academic Dr Anne-Marie Brady about her recent paper on China's influence in New Zealand.

4. ANZAC relations strained over Manus

Sam also reports from the fringes of Apec that New Zealand's relationship with Australia looks set to face another test, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern meeting her counterpart Malcolm Turnbull to again push for a resolution to the crisis on Manus Island.

Speaking to media in Vietnam on Saturday night (NZT), Ardern said she had asked to have another conversation with Turnbull - “a more substantive one” - about conditions on Manus Island.

"We made the offer because we saw a great need. No matter what label you put on it there is absolute need and there is harm being done….

"I see the human face of this, I see the need and the role New Zealand needs to play. I think it's clear that we don't think what's happening there as acceptable, that's why the offer's there," she said.

When asked again about the issue at EAS on Sunday night (NZT), Ardern said there was not yet a time set down to talk, but Manus would be the only subject of discussion.

See Sam's full report here on Newsroom Pro, where it was first published this morning.

5. An obesity epidemic

Newsroom's National Affairs Editor Shane Cowlishaw has taken a closer look at a fresh OECD report comparing New Zealand's health system with others.

He finds New Zealand doing very poorly on obesity and youth suicide, which will be key challenges for new Health Minister David Clark.

See Shane's full article on the OECD report here on Newsroom Pro, where it was first published on Friday.

6. Briefly in the political economy

The Green Party announced on Friday its vacant female co-leadership position would be contested in the new year with confirmation at the party's annual conference in June.

Wellington Airport's deputy chief executive Matt Clarke signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in Beijing on Sunday with China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) to work with the airport on its planned runway extension, although the selection of the final contractor would be determined later, the DomPost reported. The airport also agreed to work on potential new routes to Wellington from China with China Express.

Statistics New Zealand reported on Friday that retail spending with debit and credit cards rose 0.3 percent in October from September, which was less than the consensus economist forecast for a 0.5 percent rise. Economists cited a slowdown in consumer spending around the election and post-election uncertainty, and signs the slide in house price inflation was effecting spending appetites.

7. Coming up...

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is due to meet Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Manila on the fringes of the East Asia summit later today. Newsroom's Sam Sachdeva is there to report on the results.

Ardern is also expected to meet European Council President Donald Tusk in the Philippines to discuss a possible EU free trade deal.

8. One ... thing

Despite the last couple of years of head-shaking and forehead-slapping moments reading Donald Trump's Twitter feed, this one overnight was right up there as a jaw dropper:

Donald Trump: "Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me "old," when I would NEVER call him "short and fat?" Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend - and maybe someday that will happen!"