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Industry advises against killing off trade partnership

Brendan Pearson - Minerals Council of Australia
Brendan Pearson - Minerals Council of Australia

Australia should avoid prematurely killing-off a multinational trade partnership says one of the nation’s leading industry bodies for the exploration, mining and minerals processing.

The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) recently reiterated its support for an ambitious and pragmatic approach to trade liberalisation in the wake of the United States administration’s decision to opt out of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).

“The absence of the US need not kill the TPP,” MCA chief executive Brendan Pearson says.

“For Australia (which already has a Free Trade Agreement with the US), there is still much to gain in a ‘TPP minus one’ approach. For the mining and mining services sectors this includes market and investment opportunities in nations like Peru, Vietnam and Canada as well as other economies.”

MCA concedes a TPP “minus one” will not be easy, but there is still a chance of salvaging the deal.

“Clearly [there is] considerable momentum amongst the negotiating partners to take fullest possible advantage of the deal on the table,” Pearson says.

“Meanwhile Australia should also work with its 15 East Asian partners to intensify the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership negotiations. This negotiation includes the 10 ASEAN economies plus China, Japan, India, New Zealand, Korea as well as Australia. That’s a market of 3.5 billion people with a collective GDP of $US22.5 trillion.”

There is still hope China, India, Indonesia and the United Kingdom might be potential alternative partners for the TPP.

“On the bilateral front, deals … should all be pursued vigorously,” Pearson says.

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