Australia has today signed the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement, along with 11 other countries.
In a statement, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says the ‘landmark’ deal “ushers in a new era of economic growth and opportunity across the fast-growing Asia-Pacific.”
As well as Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam have signed the TPP agreement. The 12 countries make up about 40% of global GDP.
“Australia and the Asia-Pacific region are undergoing significant economic transformation,” says Turnbull. “The TPP allows us to harness the enormous opportunities this presents as we look to build a modern Australian economy that can face the challenges of the 21st century.”
Last year, one third of Australia's total goods and services exports – worth $109 billion – were sent to TPP countries.
The TPP writes regional trade rules that the government says will drive Australia's integration in the region. “It builds on Australia's successes in concluding trade agreements with China, Japan and Korea and delivers more again,” says Turnbull.
“As a regional trade agreement, the TPP creates benefits for consumers and businesses beyond those that can be achieved under bilateral FTAs – helping to create jobs and a stronger Australian economy,” he says.
“The TPP market access outcomes are ambitious and comprehensive, with benefits across the Australian economy.”
According to the Prime Minister’s office, the TPP will eliminate over 98% of tariffs in the TPP region, removing import taxes on around $9 billion of Australian trade.
“Forty-five percent of Australia's outward investment is in TPP countries,” Turnbull says. “The TPP will unlock new outward investment opportunities, and promote growth and diversification of foreign investment into Australia,” he says.
Turnbull says the TPP will drive significant growth in Australia’s services industries. “The TPP secures new commercial opportunities and guaranteed access, including in the education, financial, legal, mining services, transport, telecommunications, health, and tourism services sectors,” he explains.
Turnbull says the TPP will not require any changes to Australia's intellectual property laws or policies, whether in copyright, pharmaceutical patents or enforcement.
“Beyond market access, the TPP creates a single set of trade and investment rules between its members – making it easier and simpler for Australian companies to trade in the region," he says.