Federal minister for trade and investment Andrew Robb says he’s working to secure a good deal for Australia’s bulk sectors in negotiations over the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade deal.
Robb is in Hawaii this week, but not on holiday.
The trade minister is meeting with representatives from 11 other countries to discuss terms for the proposed TPP free trade agreement.
If signed, the TPP would be the world’s largest regional free trade agreement, with the 12 countries involved accounting for around 40% of the global economy, and comprising more than 800 million people.
Robb says Australia’s focus is to deliver “commercially meaningful outcomes” for Australian agricultural exports such as beef, dairy, grains, sugar, horticulture, seafood and wine, as well as securing gains for resources and energy exports, manufactured and other goods.
There will also be longer term integration benefits to Australian businesses and consumers by facilitating the better access to increasingly important global value chains, he added.
“The TPP will help drive increased trade and investment; help secure the ongoing competitiveness of Australian businesses and make a significant contribution to supporting economic growth, job creation and higher living standards for Australians,” the trade minister explained.
Speaking this week with Fairfax, Robb also hinted the TPP could be particularly beneficial for Australian mining-related services firms, which he reportedly said hold a comparative advantage over their global rivals.
New opportunities in mining and exploration in Malaysia, Vietnam and Mexico could bring Australia a range of business openings, in the environmental, research, training, safety and engineering service sectors, according to the report.
In a press release on July 26, Robb said five out of the 11 other countries in the deal are in the top 10 destinations for Australian investment.
“The TPP has transformational promise and would put in place the architecture for a more seamless trading environment between member countries which will bring significant new benefits for Australia,” he said.
“The negotiations are at a very advanced stage and we are pushing hard to ensure we can secure major gains and opportunities for Australian business and for our economy.”
The TPP would level the playing field between private business and state owned enterprises operating in the realm of commercial activities, he added.
The TPP is being negotiated between Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.
Other countries will also be welcome to seek TPP membership in the future, Robb concluded.