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Don't Believe The Hype Over Groser's Washington Visit Says Arena

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

14 MAY 2009 - 'Don't believe the hype' over Trade Minister Tim Groser's visit to Washington tomorrow, New Zealand research and education network Arena warns.

"The government will certainly want to talk up the outcomes of this meeting with the new United States Trade Representative (USTR), and the prospects of the Trans-pacific partnership. That needs to be taken with a kilo of salt," Arena spokesperson Dr Jane Kelsey said.

"There was a huge fanfare when the negotiations for a free trade agreement with the US as part of the larger Trans-pacific partnership were announced."

"But we didn't hear a peep from the government when the Obama administration suspended it, until Arena blew the whistle on March 8th.

"The new USTR Ron Kirk is pro- free trade so Tim Groser can expect to hear positive noises from him."

"But Kirk is not President Obama. More importantly, Obama does not have the necessary mandate from Congress to negotiate the Trans-pacific partnership, and the letter from a large number of Democrats in the House of Representatives suggests he is unlikely to get it, and certainly not this year.

"Indeed, the proposal to advance the existing controversial free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and Korea is likely to harden their resolve against what they see as toxic waste from the previous Bush administration," Jane Kelsey said.

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