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Thursday, 15 October 2015
Page: 7798

Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement


Senator McKENZIE (Victoria) (14:08): My question is to the Cabinet Secretary, representing the Minister for Trade. Will the minister inform the Senate about the benefits to regional Australia of the recent Trans-Pacific Partnership secured by the coalition government?


Senator SINODINOS (New South WalesCabinet Secretary) (14:08): I thank Senator McKenzie for her question. She is a tireless advocate for Bendigo, Victoria and rural and regional Australia, a great Australian and a great coalitionist. The TPP, as I never tire of saying, is the biggest trade deal in the world for 20 years. The TPP involves 12 countries who collectively represent 40 per cent of global output, or about $28 trillion, as well as 800,000,000 people. In 2013 Australia exported around $15 billion worth of agricultural goods to 12 TPP countries. This is close to one-third of Australia's total exports of these products. TPP will eliminate tariffs on more than $4.3 billion of Australia's dutiable exports of agricultural goods, and a further $2.1 billion of such exports will receive significant preferential access through new quotas and tariff reductions.

The US Department of Agriculture has done modelling that shows Australia would be the biggest beneficiary of all of the 12 countries under the TPP, so by 2025 the TPP could add US$2.6 billion to the annual value of our agricultural exports—an increase of more than 19 per cent. This would include $1.6 billion extra for our meat exports, $357 million for dairy exports, $161 million for cereal exports and $485 million extra across a range of other areas of agriculture and horticulture. We have an enviable reputation for premium clean, green and safe produce, and the TPP will help ensure our farmers have the market access they need to drive home the advantage we have over many of our competitors in terms of quality and efficiency.


Senator McKENZIE (Victoria) (14:10): Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. Will the minister further update the Senate on how the Trans-Pacific Partnership will create more jobs for regional Australians, including in my home state of Victoria?


Senator SINODINOS (New South WalesCabinet Secretary) (14:11): The TPP, like other recent trade agreements, is a step towards fairer trade rules. Thanks to the TPP there will be significant tariff cuts on dairy exports to Japan, one of our largest dairy customers. This includes a 9,000-tonne increase in the volume of Australian cheese exports allowed into the US tariff free. Trade agreements such as the TPP are crucial for our dairy industry, which exports about 40 per cent of its production. The United Dairyfarmers of Victoria Vice-President, John Versteden, has said:

Our future is on the export market, because domestic growth is fairly minimal. We are a growing industry and we're cost-competitive. We've got a good low-cost base and I think we've got a fairly strong strategic future on international markets.

The TPP not only reduces tariffs but also involves greater cooperation to combat fraud in textile and apparel, along with—

The PRESIDENT: Pause the clock.

Senator Cameron: Mr President, I rise on a point of order on relevance. The minister was asked about jobs. He has not mentioned jobs once in his answer, and we are up to about 90 million jobs that this lot reckon we are going to get.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: The Cabinet Secretary is in order. I call the Cabinet Secretary; you have six seconds left. Order, on my right!

Senator SINODINOS: The agreement will see greater protection for local brands. That is something you might understand over on that side when we talk about protection, which will benefit local manufacturers. (Time expired)






Senator McKENZIE (Victoria) (14:13): Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. Is the minister aware of any comments from Victorian rural and regional industry leaders regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership?


Senator SINODINOS (New South WalesCabinet Secretary) (14:13): The NFF president, Brent Finlay, has said:

Reduced tariffs and greater certainty on rules means more market opportunities more investment and this means more jobs and growth in regional centres.

And:

The nature of agreement means that exclusion from a completed TPP would have delivered significant negative outcomes for Australian agriculture;

And:

On the whole, there is no doubt this agreement will improve trading conditions for Australian farmers …

The President of the Australian Dairy Farmers group, Noel Campbell, has said:

… the new agreement was a good result for Australian dairy farmers.

And:

Along with the China Free Trade Agreement it gives people an understanding that if they're going to grow their business, they've got a market to grow into.

The TPP will be good for rural and regional Australia and will ensure that agriculture, amongst other sectors, continues to deliver strong export revenue and creates jobs for decades to come.