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 Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Deal
Charles
 Posted: Jan 24 2018, 04:58 PM
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TPP resurrected: Here's what's in the latest Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and what it means for you

By political correspondent Louise Yaxley and staff

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Photo: The TPP could see more Australian wheat going into Japan for Udon noodles. (ABC South West: Ruslan Kulski)

The trade deal that nearly died — a few times — is back on. The Trans-Pacific Partnership has become the TPP 11, or CPTPP.

How did we get here?

The TPP has been a troubled trade deal between 11 quite diverse nations ranging in economic power from Japan and Canada to Australia, Mexico, Malaysia, Singapore, Chile, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and finally the much smaller Brunei.

Originally, the TPP included the United States, but Donald Trump pulled out just after he was elected President.

At that point it appeared doomed, but the other 11 nations persisted and hoped they had reached a breakthrough last year. Then Canada baulked.

The latest version of the deal is called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

The 11 countries are set to actually sign it in Chile, in March.

So what will change?

The 11 nations have agreed on new trade rules to make it easier and cheaper to export and invest.

The aim is to cut tariffs and have common laws and regulations.

But there are also a few side deals. For example, Canada has a range of separate deals in addition to the main agreement.

What do you get out of it?

The impact on Australian consumers is not likely to be significant. So don't expect to see a sudden drop in prices at the supermarket or department store.

But the Government says more trade and exports = more jobs.

It has been determined to keep trying to strike this deal, despite the setbacks, because it argues there will be economic benefits.

But working out how much economic growth can be attributed to a free trade deal is complicated and always challenged.

Federal Labor is demanding the Government prove this deal stacks up by showing the economic modelling for this new agreement.

But it's pretty good news for the farmers

The big benefit appears to be for farmers. It should help Australia sell more beef, sugar, rice, dairy and wheat. It should also be easier to export wine and seafood.

Australian farmers will still have to compete against other nations who are also hoping to capitalise on the more open trade.

John Droppert, a senior analyst with Dairy Australia, says the elimination of tariffs on cheese products into Japan will be a big highlight.

"We put about 80,000 tonnes of cheese into Japan every year," he said.

Japan's also a big buyer of Australian wheat, for making udon noodles.

Tony Russell, executive manager of the Grains Industry Market Access Forum, thinks US farmers will be fuming that Australians and Canadians now have an edge over them in the Japanese market.

"I suspect the whole trade agenda from President Trump and the protectionist trade agenda of President Trump would be of great concern to the American grain grower," Mr Russell said.

Most of Australia's resources and energy exports to the other 10 countries are already duty free, but there will be some gradual changes.

Vietnam will get rid of its tariffs on liquified natural gas over seven years.

How long will it take?

Some of the changes will take up to a decade to happen.

For example, Peru will drop the duty it applies to paper imports over 10 years and Mexico will also take a decade to drop the tariffs on pharmaceutical products, machinery and car parts.

It's up to each country to implement the changes, so there's no formal start date for the deal to be introduced.

It is likely a bill will be introduced to Australia's Parliament within months.

Is it worth less without the United States?

Yes. Unless you're a farmer.

The deal would have covered about 40 per cent of the global economy and a quarter of world trade if the US stayed in.

The Australian Industry Group says it would have naturally been stronger with the participation of the US.

But Dairy Australia says the absence of the US from the deal is a positive for the Australian dairy industry.

"The US has in past years … been a real cost competitor into Japan. They tend to compete on price, so of course the more tariffs and barriers they face, the more difficult it is for them to do that. It's only a good thing for us that the US has excluded themselves from that agreement," Mr Droppert said.

Malcolm Turnbull said it would be possible for the US to return to the trade group in future.

Innes Willox has warned Australia needs to watch the moves the US is making, instead saying it is making bilateral trade deals that can undercut Australian access to big markets.

What are the concerns?

The big criticism of the trade deal is that it takes power away from individual governments.

The major controversy is about the investor-statement-dispute-settlement mechanism, which is generally known as the ISDS. It means companies could sue the Australian Government to argue they were being denied access to the Australian market.

Critics argue that means governments can't make policy without fear of facing a lengthy and costly legal case. The most famous case of this happening is when tobacco company Philip Morris sued the Australian Government for introducing plain packaging of cigarettes.

This trade deal still includes that mechanism but it has been watered down.

Trade Minister Steve Ciobo has dismissed the ISDS concerns as an absurd scare campaign and insisted governments could still make their own regulations.


http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-24/what-is-the-new-tpp-and-what-does-it-mean-for-australia/9357020?section=politics

I note Bill Shorten decribed this deal as "dead" in the absence of the USA. However, any trade deal that advantages Australian farmers is far from "dead".

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"A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on." - Winston Churchill
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Michael.W
 Posted: Jan 24 2018, 05:28 PM
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Interesting review on the TTP Charles
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