Thursday, 13 September 2018
Customs Amendment (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership Implementation) Bill 2018, Customs Tariff Amendment (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership Implementation) Bill 2018; Second Reading
I'm coming to that point. For me as the member for North Sydney, which is not an electorate famous for agricultural produce, what excites me about the TPP are the provisions that are included in the agreement that will support those working in our professional and service sectors. We know that, particularly with the growth of the economic opportunities in the middle-class in our region and across the Pacific, we are going to be ideally placed to provide that intellectual know-how in engineering and architecture, in law, in finances and so on, that are going to be increasingly demanded in those economies. And this agreement, as much as it focuses on the agricultural sector, also provides opportunities through the liberalisation of access to those service markets which is going to be important for so many people working in my electorate and so many businesses in my electorate, including those in the thriving innovation sector in North Sydney.
I also want to refer to one other aspect of this agreement which is important. We have signed a multitude of free trade agreements over the last five years. What this agreement delivers is not just benefits in those countries like Japan, where we already have an FTA and there are further benefits that will arise, particularly for the beef industry, for example; it means that for the first time we have effectively an FTA with those two North American markets, Canada and Mexico, that are going to be increasingly important to our future prospects, in my view. I particularly touch on Mexico. Mexico is a G20 economy. My view is that over the next few decades we will see increasing opportunities in Latin America, and this FTA with Mexico, joining as it does Peru and Chile, I think, will be very important in that regard. Overall, it's been estimated by recent studies that, between now and 2030, the TPP stands to increase Australia's economic opportunities by something like $15.6 billion. That is just so important, in my view, to our future prospects.
Before I conclude, I want to touch on two matters that have been raised by other speakers in this debate. The first is in relation to the ISDS provisions, which seem to rile and get excited many who come to the free trade debate. I want to stress that these are standard inclusions in FTAs that Australia has been part of for many, many years. I want to equally stress that none of the settlement provisions affect the ability of any national government to regulate in legislation in relation to the public interest or for legitimate public welfare grounds. In fact, I would challenge anyone to point to where the capacity of this parliament to legislate for the good governance of Australia has been affected by the inclusion of those provisions in any free trade agreements we've signed to date. What those provisions do—