Monday, February 8, 2016

Digging out the meaning of sovereignty

The issue of sovereignty has been much discussed in respect of the TPP. Long experienced trade negotiator and former minister Hon Phil Goff spells out the essence of sovereignty, in this context, most usefully:
“Every time you sign any international agreement you give away a degree of your sovereignty.” He cited the China free trade deal negotiated when he was Trade Minister.
“We gave up the sovereign right to impose tariffs against China when we signed up to the China free trade agreement. But it came with quid pro quos. China gave up its right to impose huge tariffs on us.
“That’s what an international agreement is; it’s an agreement to follow a particular course of action and a limitation on your ability to take action against the other country.
“You have the ultimate right of sovereignty that you can back out of an agreement – with all the cost that that incurs.”
Note that Phil Goff is a former Labour Minister of Trade.