TPP 11 will enter into force in December as Australia ratifies

Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, and now Australia have ratified TPP 11, with the Pacific rim trade deal to enter into force on December 30.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Australia has announced its ratification of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP 11), following Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, and Singapore.

With six signatories having ratified the trade agreement, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said TPP 11 will enter into force on December 30, 2018.

"Our ratification means we are guaranteeing maximum benefits for our farmers and businesses, with the bonus of two tariff reductions within three days: One on 30 December and another on 1 January 2019," Morrison and Minister for Trade, Tourism, and Investment Simon Birmingham said in a joint statement on Wednesday.

"The TPP-11 is one of the most comprehensive and ambitious trade agreements in Australia's recent history. It will help support Australian businesses to grow and see annual benefits of up to $15.6 billion to our national economy by 2030.

"Australian farmers and businesses will particularly benefit from new high-quality free trade agreements with Canada and Mexico, our first ever with these two of the world's top 20 economies."

Ratification came after Australian Parliament passed TPP 11 earlier this month, making Australia the fourth signatory nation to pass the Pacific rim trade deal after Singapore, Japan, and Mexico.

Morrison paid tribute to former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and former Trade Minister Steve Ciobo for pushing the TPP trade deal through despite the withdrawal of the United States at the beginning of 2017.

"Australia is an open, trading nation," Morrison said earlier this month.

TPP 11 had been signed by Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Brunei, and Chile in January, with the federal government saying it would take effect in Australia by the end of 2018.

TPP 11 then received bipartisan support in the Australian Senate last month following debate, though not from the Greens party.

"Labor has betrayed Australian workers, and our sovereignty, by paving the way to locking our nation to the dangerous TPP," Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said in September.

The New Zealand government in February published the content of the TPP 11 deal, with the intellectual property chapter outlining safe harbour and fair use regimes, as well as pushing civil and criminal penalties for piracy.

South Korea, Thailand, and Indonesia have shown "strong interest" in joining the TPP, Turnbull said previously, as well as Colombia. The United Kingdom, which will complete Brexit next year, could also potentially join the TPP, according to Turnbull.

The original TPP was signed in February 2016 by the US, but was dumped by President Donald Trump on his first week in office in favour of bilateral trade deals that promote his "America first" protectionist policy, despite warnings that he risked "abdicating" trade leadership in the Asia-Pacific region to China.

Trump earlier this year again rejected the trade deal via a tweet.

"While Japan and South Korea would like us to go back into TPP, I don't like the deal for the United States," Trump tweeted in April.

"Too many contingencies and no way to get out if it doesn't work. Bilateral deals are far more efficient, profitable and better for OUR workers. Look how bad WTO is to U.S."

While Turnbull had also previously suggested that the TPP could be opened up to China, the Chinese government expressed unwillingness to join, instead favouring the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which is being negotiated between China, Australia, India, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Thailand.

Back in June, Turnbull additionally announced entering negotiations for a free trade agreement with the European Union, pushing regulations and initiatives for innovation and tech startups.

"We are seeking an ambitious and comprehensive trade agreement to drive Australian exports, economic growth, and create new Australian jobs," Turnbull said at the time.

"We will look to lock in access and create new commercially meaningful opportunities for Australian services exporters, with a focus on education, financial, and professional services.

"We will also explore rules and initiatives to support the digital economy, innovation, and increase opportunities for high-technology startups."


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