Historic Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement opens new era of opportunities
06 October 2015
Minister for Trade and Investment
The Hon Andrew Robb AO MP
The conclusion of negotiations today on the landmark Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement ushers in a new era of economic growth and opportunity across the fast-growing Asia-Pacific.
Australia and the Asia-Pacific region are undergoing significant economic transformation. 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.
The TPP writes regional trade rules which will drive Australia's integration in the region and underpin our prosperity. It builds on Australia's successes in concluding trade agreements with China, Japan and Korea and delivers more again. 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.
The 12 TPP countries make up about 40 per cent of global GDP. Last year, one third of Australia's total goods and services exports – worth $109 billion – were sent to TPP countries.
The TPP market access outcomes are ambitious and comprehensive, with benefits across the Australian economy.
· The TPP will eliminate over 98 per cent of tariffs in the TPP region, removing import taxes on around $9 billion of Australian trade.
· The TPP will drive significant growth in our world-class services industries. Australian universities will be able to expand their education services into major southeast Asian export markets, including Vietnam, our third largest export market for those services. Liberalisation of Malaysia's professional services markets will create major new opportunities for our lawyers, architects and engineers. The TPP secures new commercial opportunities and guaranteed access, including in the education, financial, legal, mining services, transport, telecommunications, health, and tourism services sectors.
· Our farmers will benefit from gains above and beyond our existing FTAs. In 2014, around 40 per cent, or $14 billion, of Australia's agricultural exports were to TPP countries. Improving on the outstanding results from the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement, the TPP will reduce tariffs on our beef even further – down to 9 per cent. Significant new access into all TPP parties for dairy, including some of the most heavily protected markets in the world, will foster growth in our dairy exports to TPP countries, which are already $1 billion annually.
· For the first time in over 20 years, Australia has secured guaranteed new access to the US sugar market under the TPP. Japan will eliminate tariffs and significantly reduce the levy on high polarity sugar, putting our exporters at a distinct competitive advantage. Tariffs on seafood will also be eliminated along with the vast majority on horticulture products. New preferential quota access will be created for grains and cereals and Australian rice
· For Australian manufacturers, the TPP creates new market access opportunities for exporters by eliminating or significantly reducing tariffs on iron and steel products, ships, pharmaceuticals, machinery, paper and auto parts.
· All remaining tariffs in TPP countries on Australian minerals, petroleum and LNG exports will be eliminated.
· Forty-five percent of Australia's outward investment is in TPP countries. The TPP will unlock new outward investment opportunities, and promote growth and diversification of foreign investment into Australia. A robust and modern investor-state dispute settlement mechanism will protect Australian investors overseas, as well as the government's right to regulate, including on public health.
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.
· The TPP's new rules on state-owned enterprises will assist Australian businesses to compete on a more equal footing in TPP markets.
· State of the art e-commerce provisions will support the digital economy, promoting consumer protection and more a liberal cross-border environment for electronic commerce
· The TPP's labour, environment and anti-corruption chapters will support efforts to combat corruption and improve labour rights and environmental protection.
Importantly, the TPP will not require any changes to Australia's intellectual property laws or policies, whether in copyright, pharmaceutical patents or enforcement. Australia's five years of data protection for biological medicines will remain unchanged. The TPP will not increase the price of medicines in Australia.
The TPP countries are: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.
For further information, refer to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website