Australia and 10 other nations have signalled they will sign a revised Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal later this year.
- Steve Ciobo says the Government has worked hard to revive the trade pact
- The new deal will “eliminate more than 98 per cent of tariffs in a free-trade zone”
- Federal Labor last year declared the TPP “dead”
Trade Minister Steve Ciobo called it a great deal for Australia that would really help to boost exports and drive economic growth.
Mr Ciobo said the Asia-Pacific countries were “finally at the finish line” following talks between officials in Tokyo.
Canada walked away from the 11-nation deal in November, but has since had several issues resolved.
But Mr Ciobo said the Turnbull Government had worked hard to revive the trade pact.
He said new deal would “eliminate more than 98 per cent of tariffs in a free-trade zone, with a combined GDP of $13.7 trillion”.
Trade ministers will attend a signing ceremony in Chile in March.
It is understood the deal will include:
- The abolition of all tariffs on seafood, wine, sheep meat, cotton wool and manufactured goods across the region
- New bilateral trade deals for Australia with Canada and Mexico
- Japan speeding up the reduction of import barriers for Australian beef imports
- Japan eliminating several tariffs on Australian cheese imports
- Improved conditions for Australian service exports within the region — such exports were worth more than $18 billion last financial year
The TPP was going to include the United States before Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement in one of his first acts as President.
The new deal is known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
“The agreement will deliver 18 new free trade agreements between the CPTPP parties,” Mr Ciobo said.
“For Australia that means new trade agreements with Canada and Mexico and greater market access to Japan, Chile, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei.”
Federal Labor last year declared the TPP “dead”, saying it made no sense without the US on board.
Labor’s trade spokesman Jason Clare is demanding more details about how the new deal will benefit Australia.
“What we really need to know now is how many jobs this agreement will create, how many more business it will create,” Mr Clare said.
“That’s why we’ve asked the Government to do some independent economic modelling on what this agreement will mean for Australia.”
Clare wants deal to include US and China
Mr Ciobo criticised the Opposition’s approach.
“If it was up to them they would shut Australia out of this historic agreement and the big wins to delivers our farmers, manufactures and services providers,” he said.
Nearly a quarter of Australia’s exports last financial year, worth almost $88 billion, went to CPTPP countries.
Japan’s Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said the deal would act as an “engine to overcome protectionism” in developing economies.
He also said Japan would again try to persuade Washington to join the trade pact.
Mr Clare said it was preferable to have regional trade agreements that included the United States and China.
“One of the weaknesses or one of the limitations of this agreement is it does not have those two big countries of our region that are going to be so important this century,” he said.
National Farmers’ Federation chief executive Tony Mahar called it a milestone deal.
He said having 11 countries agreeing to a consistent set of trade rules, procedures and in some cases tariffs was “quite the achievement”.
“It’s a significant deal and it will mean that Australian farmers have more options and more opportunities to sell their food and fibre,” he said.
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