Australian Information Industry Association

  

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement

Rob Fitzpatrick, CEO, AIIA:

“The state of the art e-commerce provisions found in the TPP will promote a more liberal cross border environment for the flow and storage of data, while also ensuring appropriate consumer protections and retaining the right of governments to regulate in the public interest.”

“A consistent and level playing field for all companies in the region is crucial to the growth of e-commerce and the success of Australian startups and small businesses.”

“The TPP will improve access for small and medium-sized enterprises to increasingly important global value chains, with an emphasis on moving to paperless trading, making customs and export delivery more effective and efficient, along with user-friendly websites targeted at SMEs.”

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement was concluded in October 2015, following a meeting of TPP partner nations in Atlanta.

The 12 countries who are parties to the TPP Agreement (Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam) comprise 11.2 per cent of the world’s population, 25.5 per cent of total world trade, and approximately 70 per cent of Australia's trade flows through the Asia-Pacific region.

Five of them were among Australia's top 10 trading partners for goods and services in 2013-14.

By creating commonly agreed rules to trade in goods and services and promoting transparency, the TPP opens up new trade and investment opportunities for Australian businesses in the region - a key driver of global economic growth.

What’s unique about the TPP compared to other free trade agreements Australia has signed is that it is an agreement that is about much more than the shipment of “things”.  Over 30 rounds of negotiations have included robust talks over how to use the TPP to unveil a “digital trade agenda”.

Key highlights

Key highlights of the TPP include:

  • Improved levels of benefits under current FTAs with parties who will also be parties to the TPP Agreement.  There has been some criticism that current FTAs have not "gone far enough" and the TPP Agreement provides an opportunity for Australia to negotiate improved outcomes for those who believe that better outcomes can be achieved
  • Improved levels of benefits under current FTAs with parties who will also be parties to the TPP Agreement.  There has been some criticism that current FTAs have not "gone far enough" and the TPP Agreement provides an opportunity for Australia to negotiate improved outcomes for those who believe that better outcomes can be achieved
  • Significant expansion and diversification of Australian services exports to Asia-Pacific countries by liberalising key barriers, providing more transparent and predictable operating conditions in TPP countries, and capturing future services sector reforms.
  • Elimination of 98 per cent of tariffs in the TPP region
  • Rules on state-owned enterprises (SOEs) will help Australian businesses to compete on a more equal footing with government-owned commercial enterprises in TPP markets and ensure that SOEs do not unjustifiably discriminate against Australian suppliers of goods and services
  • State of the art e-commerce provisions will promote a more liberal cross border environment for the flow and storage of data, while also ensuring appropriate consumer protections and retaining the right of governments to regulate in the public interest.
  • Improved access for small and medium-sized enterprises to important global value chains, with an emphasis on moving to paperless trading, making customs and export delivery more effective and efficient, along with user-friendly websites targeted at SMEs.

In regard to intellectual property, the TPP will not require any changes to Australia’s patent system and copyright regime.

Minister Robb has issued a Media Release announcing the conclusion of the TPP negotiation.