Trans-Pacific Partnership: the detail

TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP – THE DETAIL

WHAT IS IT?

* The Trans-Pacific Partnership is the world’s largest regional trade agreement, involving 12 nations and covering about 40 per cent of the global economy.

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* Australia joined the negotiations in late 2008 and Trade Minister Andrew Robb has been our lead negotiator since the coalition government was elected in 2013.

* The TPP will eliminate more than 98 per cent of tariffs in the region, removing import taxes on about $9 billion of Australian trade.

* Beyond market access, the TPP creates a single set of trade and investment rules between its member countries, making it easier and simpler for Australian companies to trade in the region.

WHAT COUNTRIES ARE INVOLVED?

* Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.

* Even though Australia already has bilateral trade agreements with some of these countries, the government says the deal involving all TPP members will break new ground and give our industries more access to markets.

* Last year, one third of Australia’s total goods and services exports – worth $109 billion – went to TPP countries.

WHAT DOES THE DEAL COVER?

* Exports, including beef, dairy, grains, sugar, horticulture, seafood, wine, resources and energy, and manufactured and other goods.

* It also addresses modern trade and investment issues such as competition, e-commerce, anti-corruption and levelling the playing field between private business and state-owned enterprises.

* The TPP will not require any changes to Australia’s intellectual property laws or policies, whether in copyright, pharmaceutical patents or enforcement.

* Australia’s five years of data protection for biologic medicines (made from genetically-engineered proteins derived from human genes) will remain unchanged. The TPP will not increase the price of medicines in Australia.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

* The TPP needs to be approved by the parliaments, where they exist, of participants.

* That’s when the so-far secret details of the agreement will become public.

* There’s likely to be opposition to the deal in the US where concerns have been raised by both Republican and Democrat Congress representatives.

* The Australian parliament is likely to consider the deal before the end of the year.

* If all goes well, it could become effective in Australia by mid-2016 – at the earliest.

(Source: Trade Minister Andrew Robb; Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade)