International Trade Daily™ provides rapid, reliable notification of the most significant developments affecting U.S. trade and international business policy, as well as the policies of major U.S....
There’s a good reason side deals to a new Asia-Pacific trade pact haven’t been released. With just days to go until signing, they haven’t all been completed.
“There are still some that are being negotiated as we speak,” a senior Australian official told a Senate committee hearing in Canberra.
Justin Brown, deputy secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, was referring to side-letters to the new the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
Senior officials from the pact’s 11 member countries, also known as the TPP-11, are slated to sign the pact March 8 in Santiago, and they will release their various side-letters after signing the main agreement the same day. It is standard practice not to release side-letters until after the signing of a trade agreement, Brown said.
Australia will keep in place all the side letters it finished with other countries during talks for the original Trans-Pacific Partnership, with the obvious exceptions of those negotiated with the U.S., Brown told the senators late March 1.
Among the side letters that will roll over from the first agreement are three with Canada—on dairy, distinctive products (which ensures only whiskey made in Canada may be sold in Australia as Canadian whiskey), and wine and spirits. They also include one with Japan outlining the process for determining access to Japan’s rice market, and three with Vietnam dealing with foreign investment in Vietnamese airlines, online education, and electronic payment services.
The original side letters with the U.S. would have suspended certain provisions in the bilateral free trade agreement between the two countries that deal with intellectual property and tariff rate quotas for beef and dairy. Another would have reaffirmed provisions in the bilateral pact that deal with transparency and procedural fairness for pharmaceutical products, while yet another would have provided for future consultation on the possibility of modifying Australia’s access to the U.S. sugar market.
The country also will have 10 new side-letters this time around, he added, bringing its new total to about 30.
Brown told the hearing that Australia doesn’t have any insights into side letters that various TPP-11 countries might sign with each other that don’t affect Australian interests. “Some side letters involve all parties, some are bilateral,” he said.
Brown declined to provide details on Australia’s new side letters.
Commenting on the benefits of the agreement itself for Australian farmers, Brown said it will provide them with preferential access to the Japanese market, “particularly in the beef sector.”
Australian exporters will gain far more competitive access to Japan than a country such as the U.S., which doesn’t have a preferential agreement with Japan, he said.
President Donald Trump yanked the U.S. out of the TPP shortly after taking office in January 2017. The 11 countries in the new pact are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.
Australia already has free trade agreements with eight of the TPP-11 countries. The three countries it doesn’t have accords with are Canada, Mexico, and Peru. In the case of Peru, however, the two countries signed an agreement in February, but it has yet to be ratified.
To contact the reporter responsible for this story: Murray Griffin in Melbourne at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jerome Ashton at firstname.lastname@example.org
The transcript of the Australian Senate hearing will be available at https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Hansard/Estimates_Transcript_Schedule.
Copyright © 2018 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)