After almost a decade of negotiations, it’s important to finally turn the Trans Pacific Partnership TPP into reality, says the Export Council of Australia, the peak body for Australian exporters.
“The Export Council of Australia welcomes the conclusion of negotiations for the TPP,” says Heath Baker, ECA Head of Policy.
“Even without the United States, the TPP will provide significant new and improved market access for Australian exporters.
“In addition to providing new access to major markets such as Canada and Mexico, the TPP also has a number of provisions that make tangible improvements to doing business between TPP members, such as making it easier for goods and data to flow.”
Mr Baker says bilateral agreements are good, but when it comes to trade agreements, “bigger is better.”
“More countries involved means that it’s easier for Australian exporters to be eligible for lower tariffs, even when exporting to countries with which we already have an FTA.
“Multi-country trade agreements, like the TPP, come into their own when it comes to value chains.”
Two years of uncertainty
Mr Baker cited an example where inputs are sourced from Vietnam, go through value-added processing in Australia and then the final products are sold in Japan.
“In this case it might be hard for the Australian exporter to comply with the conditions for accessing lower tariffs under Australia’s FTA with Japan, but they would be eligible for preferential tariffs under the TPP,” he said.
“Australian exporters have gone through two years of uncertainty about if and when this deal is going to happen.”
The ECA has called on the major political parties to demonstrate Australia’s longstanding bipartisan consensus on free trade and – once the agreement is signed – ensure it goes through parliamentary processes smoothly.