The TPP is the result of Australian regional leadership, and should stand alongside some of our other bold innovations, says Spiro Premetis.
Australian ingenuity and hard work have led to world-class innovations and inventions. A few examples come to mind... the cardiac pacemaker invented by Dr Mark Lidwill in Sydney in 1926; wifi, the CSIRO's complex method of conducting simultaneous wireless transmissions, which has improved the way the whole world communicates; the ute, a more compact and convenient but no less robust version of the American pickup truck; and Vegemite, which has changed the way Australians see breakfast but sadly has not yet been adopted widely overseas.
But before I digress (a link to more Australian innovations is at the end of this article), let me get to our latest contribution to the world just in time for Australia Day: securing agreement of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (nicknamed the TPP11) with 10 other countries - Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
The TPP provides a clear commitment to a rules-based trade agreement, which include measures such as labour and human rights, environmental protections and dispute-resolution mechanisms.
Without Australian economic leadership on a global stage from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Trade Minister Steven Ciobo this deal may not have gone ahead.
This is Australians showing leadership in the reagion without the US. If we hadn’t we would have missed out on eliminating more than 98 per cent of tariffs in a trade zone with a combined GDP of $13.7 trillion.
But what it means for Australian exporters and consumers is what really counts. Nearly one quarter of Australia’s total exports, worth nearly $88 billion, went to TPP countries last financial year.
We will get cheaper goods from our trading partners, and consumers will benefit as a result. We will have easier and more favourable access to markets to sell to.
And as with all free trade, the TPP11 agreement is the start of the journey. The TPP11 is an innovative agreement as it has the ability to get bigger over time. Countries like Indonesia, Thailand, South Korea and the US all have the ability to plug into the agreement in the future.
Another reason for Australians to celebrate tomorrow.
See more brilliant Australian innovations here.