Wage rises, exports depend on TPP: experts

Angus Livingston, AAP Senior Political Writer
(Australian Associated Press)


Billions of dollars in wage rises, export growth and new investment depend on the Trans-Pacific Partnership being signed, new modelling shows.

Trade Minister Simon Birmingham wants parliament to pass laws bringing the huge trade deal into effect as soon as possible, but the Greens want another committee to examine it.

Two professors, working for a group of Australian industry associations, found the deal will significantly increase wages, exports, investments by 2030.

They say the TPP-11 agreement – renamed after the United States pulled out – will lift real wages, with higher gains for lower-skilled workers.

“Parliament should pass the TPP-11 enabling legislation so the benefits can start flowing to Australians as soon as possible,” Minerals Council chief executive Tania Constable said in a statement on Wednesday.

Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott said the deal must pass parliament or it would have serious implications in the global trade environment.

“Higher national income means higher incomes for Australian households,” Ms Westacott said.

“It would be irresponsible to stall an agreement which can improve living standards, particularly at a time of weak wages growth.”

Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Treaties has examined the TPP-11, and recommended it should be passed.

But the Greens have referred the legislation to another inquiry, which reports back on October 18.

“It’s important that Australia ratify the TPP-11 as soon as possible so that we can lock the forecast benefits in and avoid being at any competitive disadvantage,” Senator Birmingham said in a statement.

“Opponents of this agreement are risking $15.6 billion in annual benefits to Australia’s income that are forecast to be realised by 2030.”

Parliament will debate the TPP laws in the lower house next week.

US-based trade modellers Professor Peter Petri from Brandeis University, and Professor Michael Plummer from Johns Hopkins University, found by 2030 Australia’s national income would increase by $15.6 billion if the deal is passed.

Exports would be up $29.9 billion, and create an extra $7.8 billion of investment into Australia.

The study also found even larger benefits if the United States came back into the agreement.

The TPP-11 will enter into force 60 days after six of the 11 countries have completed their own domestic ratification processes.


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