Trudeau no show gives Turnbull chance to fix TPP mistakes

Canada’s stalling of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) gives Turnbull an opportunity to fix mistakes he made in the TPP.

In the TPP Turnbull waived labour market testing for six countries – Canada, Peru, Mexico, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam.

This means employers can hire an electrician or a plumber or a carpenter from these countries without first checking if there is an Australian who can do that job.

Australians hate this.  It really makes them angry.  It also breaks a promise Turnbull made to the Australian people earlier this year. 

In April when he announced changes to the temporary work visa system Turnbull said it would be mandatory for companies to check if there is an Australian who can do the job before they bring in someone from overseas:

“It will require in almost all cases, the majority of cases, mandatory labour market testing.”

Malcolm Turnbull press conference 18 April 2017

Waiving labour market testing for six more countries would make a mockery of this. Turnbull should put Australian workers first and reinstate labour market testing in the CPTPP for those countries.

The delay in finalising the CPTPP also gives Turnbull the opportunity to get the Productivity Commission to conduct independent economic modelling of the benefits it will provide to Australia and the impact it will have on jobs, incomes and different sectors of the economy.

Economic modelling by the World Bank concluded that the TPP signed in New Zealand February last year would have increased Australia’s GDP by 0.7 percent by 2030

This is a different agreement.  The main reason is it does not involve the United States.

The United States represented 60 per cent of the combined GDP of the original agreement.  The TPP represented 40 per cent of global GDP. This agreement represents about 13 per cent.  

The withdrawal of the United States changes the potential benefits for all the countries involved.

As Trade Minister Ciobo said this time last year:

 “It changes the metrics substantially”

Steve Ciobo Insiders, 13 November 2016

Since then, to the best of our knowledge, the government has not commissioned any independent economic modelling of a different agreement. 

Two weeks ago Labor announced it would conduct independent modelling of each new free trade agreement before it is signed to identify the benefits and the costs.  What it means for jobs, household income and different sectors of the economy as well as the strategic and other non-economic benefits.

Business groups, unions and Liberal MPs have all called for independent economic modelling of trade agreements.

Turnbull himself also recently commissioned economic modelling by the Centre for International Economics on the impact of trade reform on the Australian economy over the last 30 years.

If independent economic modelling was good enough for that – it is good enough for this agreement.

This is an important potential agreement for Australia and the Australian people and the Australian Parliament deserve to see independent economic modelling of the impact it will have.  

We also urge Turnbull to renegotiate clauses in the CPTPP that allow foreign companies to sue the Government for policy decisions it makes.


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