In a recent media statement, the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) has announced that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP-11) regional trade agreement will deliver economic, social and strategic benefits for Australia and should be supported by Parliament so that its benefits can start flowing to Australians as soon as possible.
The Minerals Council of Australia’s submission to Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Treaties inquiry into the TPP-11 shows how the agreement will open up access to new markets for Australian exporters and encourage cross-border investment to support jobs and growth.
The submission identified social benefits of the TPP-11 including the strongest labour standards provisions in any Australian trade agreement, commitments on environmental protection and safeguards for Australian public policies in health, education, social welfare and environmental regulation.
The MCA believes that the TPP-11 is in Australia’s strategic interests by supporting engagement with the Asia-Pacific region and sending a clear message about the region’s commitment to open economies and free trade in an era of growing protectionist sentiment and trade war threats.
The TPP-11 – along with its predecessor, the TPP – is one of the most extensively modelled trade agreements negotiated in recent years.
The MCA’s submission reviewed 10 independent modelling studies on the TPP-11 and the earlier TPP, which put the economic benefits to Australia as high as an increase of 1.2 per cent in real GDP.
The average estimated gain across the 10 modelling scenarios is an increase of 0.54 per cent, or more than $15 billion, in real GDP for Australia.
The MCA’s submission also debunked anti-trade scare campaigns claiming that the TPP-11’s temporary entry of business persons and labour market testing provisions will lead to an influx of temporary migrants into Australia.
It shows that identical labour market testing provisions in the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, which has now been in place for two years, have seen the number of 457 visas granted to Chinese nationals falling by 35 per cent.
The TPP-11 is a high-quality regional trade agreement between Australia and 10 other Pacific Rim economies: Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Peru and Chile.
The agreement reduces tariffs and other barriers to trade in goods and services between member countries and adopts new rules to encourage economic integration in investment, e-commerce, state-owned enterprises, intellectual property and telecommunications.
For the resources industry – Australia’s biggest export earner – the benefits of TPP-11 include cuts in tariffs on iron ore, copper, nickel, butane, propane, LNG and refined petroleum along with improved market access for Australian mining services businesses.