Wednesday, 21 March 2018
Questions without Notice
I certainly can. I thank Senator Abetz for his question. The signing of the comprehensive and progressive agreement for a Trans-Pacific Partnership with the TPP-11 in Chile earlier this month was a significant moment for open markets, for free trade, and for the rules-based international system. The Turnbull government took a leadership role in the negotiations to conclude the TPP-11 soon after the United States indicated its intention to withdraw from the original agreement. We recognised the potential and the opportunities that the agreement would deliver for Australian exports, and particularly the jobs it would help to create.
While the Labor Party, those opposite, said to give up—they said the TPP was dead—we were relentless in our pursuit of new opportunities and greater market access for Australian businesses in our trade zone, which has a combined GDP of A$13.7 trillion. In fact, in 2016-17, nearly one-quarter of Australia's total exports, worth nearly $88 billion, went to TPP-11 countries. That will only continue to grow, thanks to the significant increase in market access the TPP-11 gives to Australian exporters. The TPP-11 will give us new trade agreements with Canada and Mexico, and greater market access to Japan, Chile, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei. In fact, the Turnbull government has the most ambitious trade agenda in Australia's history. It is delivering jobs and opportunities for Australian workers and Australian businesses.
That is a very good question from Senator Abetz. The TPP will eliminate more than 98 per cent of tariffs between the parties to the agreement and will deliver major new opportunities for Australian exporters, clearly including those in Tasmania. In fact, in 2017, Tasmania's exports of goods to TPP countries were valued at $910.7 million, a rise of almost 10 per cent on the 2016 number. Senator Abetz and his Tasmanian colleagues have long argued for new trade opportunities for Tasmanian beef, seafood, wine and cheese. The TPP will achieve just that, including accelerated reductions in Japan's import tariffs on beef. The TPP will go even further than our FTA with Japan and include the elimination of beef tariffs in both Canada and Mexico within 10 years of entry into force and the elimination of all tariffs on seafood, horticultural and manufactured goods.
The coalition recognises and understands the importance of trade and investment in creating job opportunities for Australians and in securing our economic prosperity into the future. One in five Australians has a job that relies on trade, and exports accounted for more than 21 per cent of our GDP growth last year. This growth was driven by our breakthrough agreements with China, Japan and Korea, which are actually delivering local jobs and creating new growth opportunities for Australian businesses. The signing of the TPP-11 is a major win for exporters and it sends a message to the world that prosperity is achieved through breaking down trade barriers and not through building them.