Australia appears ready to sign on to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), along with 10 other countries.
But currently the US isn’t one of them.
While that reduces the economic range of the partnership, it could give Aussie farmers a huge advantage over the global industry.
Agreements like the TPP can threaten Australia’s labour force to the merit of other nations. And they need to be entered into with caution and transparency.
But they also provide a necessary source of business in the globalised world.
Trump has pulled out of multiple free trade agreements, calling the TPP in particular ‘a continuing rape of our country,’ according to SBS News.
But in his desperation to put ‘America First’, Trump may have isolated himself from the economies willing to buy American products.
One of Trump’s advisors, Stephen Moore, told The Washington Post, ‘All of these countries need to trade with the United States more than we need to trade with them.’ Trump plans to make individual trade agreements with each country in order to make the agreements fairer for US citizens.
But those smaller economies, still in large trade agreements, may have found strength in numbers. And with their combined force, Moore’s statements may be less true than he had hoped.
According to ABC News, the TPP is worth less to Australia without the US. But leaving them out will provide a huge boost for Australia’s agriculture industry, with major export opportunities to Japan in particular.
Malcolm Turnbull may discuss some form of trade agreement with Trump during their proposed meeting next month.
But the value of the TPP will mean that the Australian economy is less reliant on US business, and therefore gives us more room for negotiation.
Chief executive of the National Farmers’ Federation, Tony Mahar, told the Australian Financial Review, ‘we understand trade is a two way street and we’re not afraid of competition.’
Many factors of the TPP are yet to be ironed out or fully expressed to the Australian public. But without the giant US economy, Australia is one of the bigger names in this 11 country partnership.
Hopefully Australian farmers will be able to make the most of it.