Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement is a free trade agreement (FTA) seeking to establish new trade and investment opportunities for 12 countries on the Pacific Rim: Australia, the US, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Chile and Peru.
For Australia, the TPP is intended to break precedents of existing free trade agreements in terms of scope and new market access opportunities for exporters and investors. The TPP sets timelines to cut tariffs and financial levies on goods, and includes a range of agreements to make cross-border investing easier and more frequent.
The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) states that TPP aims to “address contemporary trade challenges in ways that have not previously been addressed in Australian FTAs, such as commitments on state-owned enterprises” in order for Australian exporters to compete on a level playing field internationally.
While the TPP is planned to come into force with 12 countries, the agreement allows for additional countries to join the agreement in the future. A significant criticism of the TPP is that it is more a security instrument to guard against the perceived economic strength and influence of China, rather than a genuine economic blueprint for trade reform.