4 February 2016
Consumer group CHOICE has questioned the value of Australia signing the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal following analysis by the World Bank.
Australia's trade Minister was among 12 representatives from Pacific-rim nations who met in New Zealand today to rubber stamp the final text of the TPP. The signing comes in the wake of a World Bank estimate that the agreement will have almost no positive impact on Australia, leading to a tiny 0.7% increase in our GDP by 2030.
"Six Gerry Harveys would be worth about the same amount as the total benefit the TPP will bring to Australia by 2030," says CHOICE Head of Media Tom Godfrey.
"14 years is a long time to wait to see such a small financial benefit given we'll now face legal challenges to our domestic laws.
"Aussies are in for a rough ride now the TPP has been signed. Not only will the financial benefit be minimal, we've given the power to US companies to sue us for making laws to protect our community."
In 2015 it was revealed that the recent Phillip Morris plain packaging investor-state dispute settlement case reportedly cost taxpayers $50 million.
"With the potential for more cases like this to be brought under the TPP, that 0.7% benefit in 14 years may well disappear," says Mr Godfrey.
"Given the high stakes, it's surprising the Federal Government couldn't see its way to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the agreement.
"We have to ask who the real winner is in this deal, because looking at the detail, there's a lot of risks to Australian consumers," Mr Godfrey says.
The Federal Parliament will now be asked to review the TPP and vote on any necessary implementing legislation. A National Interest Assessment will also be conducted by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the same Department who negotiated the agreement.
"It's hard to see how any output from the Federal Government department that signed us up to the deal and consistently failed to listen to community concerns will do anything but wave this through," says Mr Godfrey.
"This agreement has the potential to impact every aspect of the Australian economy. We need a full and transparent assessment of its impact before the agreement is ratified to be sure that Australia's interests are being looked after."
Australia's GDP for 2014/15 was $1 619 195 000 000, according to ABS figures available at http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/mf/1345.0?opendocument?opendocument#from-banner=LN
0.7% of this figure equates to $11 334 365 000.
 World Bank, January 2016, Topical Issue: Potential Macroeconomic Implications of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, http://pubdocs.worldbank.org/pubdocs/publicdoc/2016/1/847071452034669879/Global-Economic-Prospects-January-2016-Implications-Trans-Pacific-Partnership-Agreement.pdf
 See Forbes 'Australia's 50 Richest People', with Gerry Harvey #19 at US$1.35b, http://www.forbes.com/australia-billionaires/#tab:overall_page:2
 Martin P, 28 July 2015, Australia faces $50m legal bill in cigarette plain packaging fight with Phillip Morris, Sydney Morning Herald, http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/australia-faces-50m-legal-bill-in-cigarette-plain-packaging-fight-with-philip-morris-20150728-gim4xo.html