The Web of Trade Agreements and Alliances and Impacts on Regulatory Autonomy
Susy Frankel and Deborah Ryder (eds) Recalibrating Behaviour: Smarter Regulation in a Global World (LexisNexis, Wellington, 2013)
40 Pages Posted: 3 Oct 2013 Last revised: 17 Mar 2015
Date Written: March 1, 2013
This book chapter analyses how globalisation has changed and continues to change the nature of trade policy, and consequently affects the ways in which international trade policy interacts with domestic policies to shape the structure of domestic regulation. The chapter compares and contrasts the structure and negotiating methods of different types of trade agreements and alliances and looks at the circumstances where one type of agreement may favour New Zealand over another. The chapter proposes that the multilateral (or many party) agreement is the preferred one because New Zealand has a better chance of coordinating interests with like-minded countries. Conversely, agreements where New Zealand interests either are given no say, or where they are not accommodated because the “top-down” dictated terms are too strong, are not considered the best economic strategy. Agreements which are often, although not always, more of a “bottom-up” integration process tend to work better to improve the overall New Zealand position. Whatever the form of the agreement, the pros and cons need to be carefully considered, particularly where the terms of the agreement may become multilateralised.
The chapter uses patent law and particularly the demands of the United States, in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, to illustrate the potential difficulties of such top-down agreements. The chapter relies on detailed research not only about trade agreements, but also about how New Zealand no longer has patent term extension and why the current demands of patent term extension represent an economic loss for New Zealand. The question discussed is that when there is such a loss, what the gain is. As well as the TPP, the chapter looks at what is known as ASEAN 6 negotiations and the durability of that potential arrangement.
Keywords: international trade, free trade agreements, New Zealand and Australia, Trans-Pacific Partnership, ASEAN 6, framework of agreement and negotiation approach, patents
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