ACCI Welcomes TPP Negotiations

Statement by Bryan Clark, Director of Trade and International Affairs

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Australia’s largest and most representative business organisation, has welcomed the commencement of negotiations in the 11th round of talks to progress the Transpacific Partnership (TPP) agreement in Melbourne this week.

"With so many nations burdened by public debt, deeper global trade especially in our Asia-Pacific region is an antidote for global recovery. ACCI hopes that this week negotiators can make progress towards a final agreement."

The TPP is a major multilateral round of free trade talks between many of Australia’s important trading partners. As well as Australia, other countries include Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, and the United States. Japan and Canada have expressed an interest in joining the talks, while still more countries such as China are watching the developments with interest.

"These are important talks, that if successful, will build upon the existing bilateral treaties Australia already has with most of the negotiating group” said Bryan Clark, ACCI Director and Trade and International Affairs. “Business will be looking for clear and tangible outcomes from the efforts of our negotiators."

With the failure of any movement in the WTO, regional efforts such as the TPP become more important.

"We will be looking for beneficial outcomes such as improved market access, reductions in tariffs and other barriers to trade for Australian goods and services into the markets of the foreign partners, especially for agricultural products, the resources and financial sectors, and our services sector."

"One area of concern we have raised with the Government previously, is that of inclusion of investor state dispute provisions (ISDS). We think the Australian Government’s approach of non-inclusion is poor policy and leaves Australian firms exposed when they are doing business overseas. We urge the Government to reconsider its position on ISDS and negotiate all aspects of the TPP in good faith and in support of Australian business interests."

"It is also important that the TPP does not outshine the bilateral discussions for FTA’s that are already underway, for example with Japan, Malaysia and Korea. We urge the Australian Government to finalise these specific bilateral agreements, preferably before expanding the TPP. The more countries involved the harder it can be to reach agreement. An agreement that has soft outcomes on hard issues like agricultural market access, reciprocal investment terms, labour issues and movement of people must be avoided."

ACCI’s Trade and International Affairs Committee, comprising trade executives from Chambers and leading business associations, is also meeting this week in Melbourne in the margins of the TPP negotiations.

For more information:
ACCI Director of Trade and International Affairs:
Bryan Clark 0428 645 232

ACCI Director of Communications:
David Turnbull 0419 272 802