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TPP deal good for exporters

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Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Trade Minister Craig Emerson have hosted a press conference from the APEC summit in Honolulu to talk about the positive moves forward in the creation of a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) among Asia Pacific nations. Ahead of the APEC meeting itself, meetings were held with US President Obama, Julia Gillard and other Asia Pacific leaders regarding the establishment of the TPP, with the hope that Japan would also enter the agreement after an indicated interest in joining the deal. If Japan were to enter the deal, the countries involved would account for one third of global GDP. "I’ve said consistently to Australians that trade equals jobs.  We are a great trading nation and anything we can do to increase our capacity to trade is good for Australian jobs," Gillard said. "We will now keep working as quickly as possible with the nations involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership to bring this matter to a conclusion.  In particular, we are aiming for the Trans-Pacific Partnership to reach the stage of a legal text during the course of 2012." Gillard emphasised the importance of this deal for Australian exporters and the effect it would have on Australian jobs, particularly emphasising the positive effect it would stand to have on the agricultural sector. "We are a great agricultural nation.  We have very efficient farmers, very efficient and productive farmers and when you talk to them they are very alive to the barriers that prevent them getting full access into other markets and if they had full access, then they would well and truly compete on price and quality." Dr Emerson also demonstrated his enthusiasm for the agreement to come into place as soon as possible, with the eventual promise of eliminating tariffs among member countries. "We’re excited about the fact that the nine partners have agreed that the goal is to eliminate all tariffs which helps move this from a concept to something that’s very practical and very real because the elimination of tariff barriers means that we have access to other countries’ markets," Emerson said. Gillard went on to raise her high hopes for the upcoming APEC meeting, including the possibility of working towards a "new frontier" for trade: environmental trade.  "As our region and the world grapples with the challenge of climate change, then increasingly focus will turn to having ready access to the environmental goods that make a difference to carbon pollution and reducing carbon pollution.  It’s in all of our interests that trade in those goods is as free as possible so people can get access to the goods that they need so that they can cut back their carbon pollution," Gillard said. The APEC meeting is being held Sunday night local time, today AEDT.

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