Make the TPP happen

Heath Baker, Export Council of Australia head of policy

A conclusion of negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is welcome, says Export Council of Australia head of policy, Heath Baker.

As well as providing new access to markets such as Canada and Mexico, Mr Baker said the TPP also had provisions for tangible improvements to doing business between TPP members. 

“Bilateral agreements are good, but when it comes to trade agreements, bigger is better,” Mr Baker said. “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.” 

He said multi-country trade agreements came into their own when it came to value chains.

“Take an example where inputs are sourced from Vietnam, go through value-added processing in Australia, then the final products are sold in Japan,” he said.

“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.”

Mr Baker said Australian exporters had gone through two years of uncertainty about the TPP.

“We call on the government and opposition to demonstrate Australia’s longstanding bipartisan consensus on free trade, and – once the agreement is signed – ensure it goes through parliamentary processes smoothly,” he said.

Read more about the TPP here.