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Australia: Legislation to Implement Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership Enacted; Agreement Ratified

(Nov. 15, 2018) On October 17 and 18, 2018, the Australian Parliament passed three bills that were required to implement and begin the ratification of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CP-TPP or TPP-11). (Press Release, Scott Morrison & Simon Birmingham, TPP-11 to Open New Doors for Aussie Farmers and Businesses (Oct. 17, 2018), Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment website.) The bills received Royal Assent on October 19. Subsequently, on October 31, Australia notified New Zealand, as depository of the CP-TPP, that it had “completed its applicable legal procedures necessary for entry into force of the Agreement,” becoming the sixth country to ratify the CP-TPP. ( Australia Ratifies the TPP-11 , DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE (DFAT) (Oct. 31, 2018); Press Release, Scott Morrison & Simon Birmingham, Australia Ratifies the TPP-11 (Oct. 31, 2018), Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment website.)
As a result of Australia’s ratification, the Agreement will enter into force on December 30, 2018. The countries that had previously ratified the CP-TPP were Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, and Singapore. The remaining countries to ratify are Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, Peru, and Vietnam. ( See Press Release, David Parker, CPTPP Underway – Tariff Cuts for Our Exporters on 30 December (Oct. 31, 2018), Government of New Zealand website.)
The CP-TPP incorporates, by reference, the original Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), with “the exception of a limited set of provisions to be suspended.” ( Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP-11) , DFAT (last visited Nov. 7, 2018). See also TPP-11 Suspensions Explained , DFAT (last visited Nov. 7, 2018).) It was signed on March 8, 2018, by eleven of the twelve original signatories to the TPP, following the withdrawal of the United States from that agreement.
Implementing Legislation
The government introduced two of the bills required to implement the CP-TPP into the Parliament on August 23, 2018, these being the Customs Amendment (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership Implementation) Bill 2018 and the Customs Tariff Amendment (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Implementation) Bill 2018 (Parliament of Australia website). Additional relevant provisions were covered by a third bill, the Government Procurement (Judicial Review) Bill 2018, which had previously been introduced in May 2018. ( Government Procurement (Judicial Review) Bill 2018, Parliament of Australia website;  see  Juli Tomaras, Government Procurement (Judicial Review) Bill 2018 , at 7 (Parliamentary Library, Bills Digest No. 26, 2018–19, Sept. 17, 2018).)
The introduction of the two CP-TPP implementation bills followed the completion, on August 22, 2018, of the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) report of its inquiry into the Agreement. JSCOT recommended that Australia take binding treaty action to ratify the CP-TPP. (JSCOT, Report 181 – Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (Aug. 2018), Parliament of Australia website.)
Anticipated Benefits for Australia
According to the Australian government, “[i]ndependent modelling shows Australia is forecast to see $15.6 billion [about US$11.4 billion] in net annual benefits to national income by 2030 from the TPP-11.” (TPP-11 to Open New Doors for Aussie Farmers and Business,  supra .) The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade states that
[t]he Agreement will eliminate more than 98 percent of tariffs in the free trade area. Highlights include:

new reductions in Japan’s tariffs on beef, (Australian exports worth $2.0 billion in 2017);
new access for dairy products into Japan, Canada and Mexico, including the elimination of a range of cheese tariffs into Japan covering over $100 million of trade;
new sugar access into the Japanese, Canadian and Mexican markets;
tariff reductions, and new access for our cereals and grains exporters into Japan, including, for the first time in 20 years, new access for rice products into Japan;
elimination of all tariffs on sheepmeat, cotton and wool;
elimination of tariffs on seafood, horticulture and wine; and
elimination of all tariffs on industrial products (manufactured goods). ( TPP-11 Outcomes at a Glance , DFAT (last updated Sept. 2018).)

The Agreement will also “enhance the level of transparency and predictability for Australian services exporters across the board, reducing some regulatory risks these firms confront internationally”; “provide new opportunities for Australian businesses to bid for government procurement services contracts” in the other countries; and include “important elements which will deliver a more liberalised and predictable regime for the regulation of foreign investment, including in key sectors such as mining and resources, telecommunications and financial services.”  ( Id. )

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