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Tuesday, 11 September 2018
Page: 33

Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement


Senator BUSHBY (TasmaniaChief Government Whip in the Senate) (14:34): My question is to the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Senator Birmingham. Notwithstanding that the minister touched on this in an earlier question, will the minister advise the Senate more fully on how the comprehensive and progressive agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, TPP-11, will benefit Australian businesses and farmers?


Senator BIRMINGHAM (South AustraliaMinister for Trade, Tourism and Investment and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:34): The government understands that there are some Australians who have concerns about agreements of this nature, hence the types of questions we saw before. But it is important to understand, as I was outlining earlier, the scale of potential benefit that can be accrued both to our economy overall and to individual businesses in the various sectors that will benefit.

As I indicated, this is one of the most comprehensive trade deals ever concluded for Australian farmers, manufacturers, service providers, small businesses and exporters. It encompasses some 11 countries, close to 500 million consumers and a combined GDP of approaching $14 trillion. Ultimately this agreement is going to provide greater market access for a number of Australian companies and exporters in Senator Bushby's home state of Tasmania—companies such as Ashgrove Cheese, one of Tasmania's and, indeed, Australia's largest family owned and operated dairy producers, located in Elizabeth Town, which is surrounded by dairy farms and is in the heart of the dairying and cropping region in Northern Tasmania. This small family business has publicly recognised the benefits of this agreement and other agreements to their business in terms of exporting dairy products from Tasmania to the world. Anne Bennett from Ashgrove said, 'This agreement provides advantages to win in new marketplaces.' And, of course, they are not alone. Many other businesses will benefit and, through their benefitting, so too will Australians in terms of job opportunities that are created.

The TPP creates Australia's first trade agreement with countries such as Canada and Mexico, giving Australian exporters preferential access to two of the world's top 20 economies for the first time. Another Tasmanian example of a business that will benefit from this is SED Shellfish Equipment. SED Shellfish Equipment is a small business with 12 employees based in north-west Tasmania. It's already a firm that has a footprint in terms of engagement in Mexico and Canada, and they will find that easier and better under this agreement.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Bushby, a supplementary question.



Senator BUSHBY (TasmaniaChief Government Whip in the Senate) (14:37): Will the minister update the Senate on any new modelling that quantifies these benefits to our economy?


Senator BIRMINGHAM (South AustraliaMinister for Trade, Tourism and Investment and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:37): There indeed has been modelling undertaken. There was modelling undertaken some time ago by the Peterson Institute for International Economics, which found that the TPP-11 would boost Australia's national income by half a per cent and boost exports by four per cent. More recently, modelling undertaken by Johns Hopkins University and Brandeis International Business School that has been released indicates real benefits of the TPP-11, estimated to be by 2030 some $15.6 billion in net annual benefits to national income and an increase in exports of nearly $30 billion. These are demonstrations of the types of national economic benefits that will accrue from the activities of the types of businesses I was speaking about before. They will have improved access into key international markets. They'll be able to increase their sales, and, from that activity we will see greater prosperity across the Australian economy.


Senator BUSHBY (TasmaniaChief Government Whip in the Senate) (14:38): I have a final supplementary question. Will the minister advise us on the status of the ratification of TPP-11?


Senator BIRMINGHAM (South AustraliaMinister for Trade, Tourism and Investment and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:38): The TPP will enter into force some 60 days after the first six TPP-11 member countries complete all necessary ratification procedures. Three nations to date—Mexico, Japan and Singapore—have ratified the agreement, with a number of other countries, including New Zealand and Canada, indicating they will ratify in coming months. We look forward to the passage of legislation through both houses of the parliament to ensure that Australia is also able to move swiftly towards ratification to ensure those benefits of some $15.6 billion in annual lift to our income are realised by 2030. (Time expired)

Senator Whish-Wilson interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Senator Whish-Wilson! I've asked multiple times for silence during questions.