The new CPTPP is a different agreement to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Just like the TPP process, the Government is again keeping the details of the agreement secret until it is signed in March. I have backed Labor’s formal request to the Trade Minister for a detailed briefing.
What we do know is that this new agreement does not include the United States and represents about 13 per cent of the world’s economy. The TPP on the other hand did include the United States and represented about 40 per cent of the world’s economy.
It is also my understanding that the Turnbull Government has agreed to waive labour market testing for an additional six countries in this agreement. Hypothetically, this would mean that an employer in Burpengary, for example, could bring in a worker from one of these countries without first checking to see if there is a local who can do the job.
I am also concerned about the potential for Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanisms to be included, which would allow foreign corporations to sue the Australian Government.
I am not denying that trade creates local jobs, because it does. About one in five Australian jobs are directly linked to trade. The issue that I have is that these agreements need to be scrutinised to make sure that they benefit workers, farmers and businesses in our area.
To make sure that this happens, I have supported Labor’s calls for the CPTPP to undergo independent economic analysis by the Productivity Commission to specifically identify:
- The benefits
- Where the jobs will be created
- The industries that will benefit
- The parts of our community that will be better off; and
- The areas that we need to do more work to help people that won’t be better off.
You can be assured that Labor will initiate a fresh round of parliamentary scrutiny after the agreement is signed. In Government, we will also make sure that independent economic modelling of all new trade agreements is conducted; we are committed to reviewing ISDS and other concerning provisions in existing trade and investment agreements to make sure that they meet our community’s standards. If not, we will seek to work with trading partners to wind-back such provisions in Government