Negotiations to finalise the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement were successfully completed yesterday, with a finished deal signed.
Agreed between 12 countries, including the US, Australia, Japan, Canada, Singapore and Vietnam, the deal will cover over 40% of the global economy.
The signing of this deal followed a last-minute round of talks in Atlanta, marking the culmination of 8 years of negotiations to bring together the largest free-trade agreement in history.
Effectively, it will remove trade barriers and protections across a wide selection of industries, ranging from electronics to agricultural products.
In emerging digital sectors which are currently restricted by old legislation, there stands to be significant benefits for companies, who will be able to deliver content and services to a larger customer base.
As well, in countries like Australia which are net exporters of highly protected products like food and minerals, businesses will be much more competitive internationally.
Responding to the signing of the deal, the Australian Industry (AI) Group praised its ‘transformative’ potential.
“This agreement opens up new opportunities for Australian investment and exports.
It gives easier access into markets that have been particularly tough nuts to crack,” said AI Group chief executive, Innes Willox.
“A significant amount of global trade now consists of goods that are inputs into global value chains, which is why multi-lateral agreements such as the TPP are highly valued among manufacturers with an international focus.”
More hurdles to clear
While the TPP deal has been signed by the delegations of the 12 countries that are involved, its details are still unknown.
The finalised version of the TPP will likely not be released to the public for several months yet.
Once this has occurred, it will have to be ratified by a minimum threshold of the countries involved in the deal. This stage will be critical for the survival of the TPP, as it is facing strong political challenges in both the US and several other signatory states.
The deal is seen as particularly controversial due to alleged changes to copyright laws and provisions which would allow multinational corporations to sue nations who are taking part.