The meeting in Hawaii last week to discuss the TPP – the Trans Pacific Partnership – could be the final meeting. It looks as though the trade talks are almost finished.

The Trans Pacific Partnership is a trade treaty between 12 countries on the Pacific Rim. New Zealand is working hard to get a good trade deal for our dairy industry, especially in Japan. However, it is possible that both Japan and Canada want to keep their import taxes on our dairy products. US dairy farmers could follow Canada.

Another concern is that the cost of medicines will rise for New Zealand. Big drug companies want to extend the length of patents. It costs a lot of money to develop new drugs so a company now may have a patent for 12 years. During that time, other drug companies cannot make it. When the patent has expired, other companies can make a generic drug which is similar. Pharmac prefers to buy generic drugs if possible because they are a lot cheaper.

Another part of the TPP which worries people is the possibility of allowing investors from any of these other countries to buy large areas of land in New Zealand.

However, we do not really know if the TPP will be good for New Zealand or not because the trade talks are secret.

Listen to November 9th 2014 to hear more about the TPP.


• rim – the edge; countries which border the Pacific Ocean
• concern (n) – a worry, a problem
• patent (n) – ownership of something you have created
• expired (v) – finished
• generic (adj, n) – same ingredients but not the same name as the original drug
• Pharmac – our agency which buys drugs for our hospitals and pharmacies
• investors (n) – people who use their money to make a profit


1. What other products are protected by a patent?
2. Is this the same as copyright? Is it fair?

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