House debates

Monday, 8 February 2016

Questions without Notice

Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

2:09 pm

Photo of Brett WhiteleyBrett Whiteley (Braddon, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Trade and Investment. Will the minister advise the House of the importance of the newly signed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement to the Australian economy, and how will this trade agreement support jobs and growth in this critical post mining boom period?

2:10 pm

Photo of Andrew RobbAndrew Robb (Goldstein, Liberal Party, Minister for Trade and Investment) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member. He is a great advocate for a wonderful part of Tasmania known for its premium quality produce. Business and industry have strongly recognised TPP's transformational potential. Business Council of Australia Chief Executive, Jennifer Westacott, perhaps best captured it:

The TPP levels the playing field for business, workers and farmers, which means more jobs, higher wages, stronger growth, a higher standard of living and new economic opportunities for Australia.

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Seen in the context of the cumulative impact of three ambitious bilateral free trade agreements these deals open the door for Australia to the geographical epicentre of global growth.

To this end, the TPP will see 98 per cent of tariffs eliminated between 800 million people in the TPP region. Enormous benefits will flow from a more seamless trading environment involving paperless trading, one set of trading rules and streamlined customs rules, including common rules of origin. The TPP is a 21st-century agreement, addressing not only traditional areas of trade but also areas such as e-commerce and reopening the doors for SMEs to global and regional value chains. Furthermore, it sets in place common rules for labour and the environment and new rules to combat bribery and corruption, also ensuring that our private companies are able to effectively compete against state owned enterprises.

Significantly, this agreement will promote the expansion of our world-class services, which is so critically important to the Australian economy—services like our $90 billion mining equipment, technologies and services, or METS sector; and professional services such as legal, architectural, engineering, surveying, financial, education, telecommunications, IT, transport, health, hospitality and tourism. The TPP is also open for other countries to join, which will magnify the benefits.

Along with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which is currently under negotiation and includes the likes of China and India, the TPP provides a prospective pathway to the creation of a free trade area across the entire Asia-Pacific region. When combined with our historic deals with Korea, Japan and China, it forms a grand slam for Australia, providing a strong platform to drive future growth and job creation in this challenging post-mining-boom period.