THE Trans Pacific Partnership generated some excitement in Australian trade circles since it was announced that 11 countries signed on to deal at a meeting in Tokyo last week.
Now called the CPTPP (Comprehensive Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership), the agreement is expected to provide access for Australia to markets worth up to $14 trillion.
A joint statement from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and trade minister Steven Ciobo said the agreement would eliminate more than 98% of tariffs in a trade zone with a combined GDP of $13.7 trillion.
“The agreement will deliver 18 new free trade agreements between the TPP parties. For Australia that means new trade agreements with Canada and Mexico and greater market access to Japan, Chile, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei,” the statement said.
“In 2016-17, nearly one quarter of Australia’s total exports, worth nearly $88bn, went to TPP countries. This will continue to grow thanks to the significant increase in market access the TPP gives Australian exporters.”
In addition to the above-mentioned countries, the deal will also include New Zealand and Peru.
The Global Trade Professionals Alliance (GTPA) welcomed the deal, which is expected to be signed in early March.
GTPA executive director Lisa McAuley said increasing trade and investment is crucial to unlocking opportunities in the 11 countries involved in the agreement.
“The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership is an important step forward at a time when the benefits of international trade are the subject of debate in various contexts,” she said.
“Businesses from all of the 11 countries will need to review the revised agreement to determine any benefits relating to them.”
Ms McAuley noted that the introduction of FTAs does not introduce complexity into a perfect and uniform world.
“The world is already a complex web of tariff rates, standards and entry requirements, and successful exporters and importers, both large and small, are already navigating their way around them,” she said.
“This is where the GTPA global ecosystem will be able to play a huge role in working with our partner networks and education providers globally across the TPP countries to ensure that the benefits of the agreement will be applicable to MSMEs.”