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Trade Minister Andrew Robb criticised for seeking TPP ratification without independent analysis

Trade Minister Andrew Robb has been slammed for failing to submit the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement to an independent economic analysis before asking Parliament to ratify it.

Mr Robb tabled the text of the TPP in Parliament on Tuesday, warning opponents of the deal that Australia had to sign it.

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TPP: 'we can't afford not to be a part of it'

Australia's integration into the Asia Pacific will be assisted by the signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership says Trade Minister Andrew Robb.

The TPP is a huge trade agreement between 12 countries in the Asia Pacific Region, involving Australia, the US, New Zealand, and Japan, among others.

"Australia simply cannot afford not to be part of it," Mr Robb urged Parliament on Tuesday.

"It will assist our further integration in the Asia Pacific - a region that will be a critical driver of global economic growth in the years and decades ahead on account of an exploding middle class."

Following protocol, Mr Robb tabled a National Interest Analysis of the trade agreement, along with the agreement itself, which explained why the deal was in Australia's interest.


The analysis was not written by an independent economic agency - it was written by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Opponents of the deal have repeatedly asked the government to submit it to an independent analysis before signing it into law.

The Productivity Commission has also criticised the way trade agreements are not analysed properly before they are signed, saying current processes "fail to adequately assess the impacts of prospective agreements".

Greens spokesman for trade, Peter Whish-Wilson, has slammed the national interest analysis as a "farce".

"[It] is not an independent assessment of the costs and benefits of this agreement, it is simply a more detailed set of talking points coming from DFAT and Andrew Robb's office," Mr Whish-Wilson said.

"Unsurprisingly DFAT and Andrew Robb have marked their own homework and given themselves top marks.

"If [he] wasn't so afraid of his spin being shown up as hollow rhetoric then he would have no problem whatsoever referring the TPP to the Productivity Commission," he said.

The 97-page National Interest Analysis does not provide its own estimate of the likely boost to Australia's GDP that will come from signing the TPP.

Instead, it only says has been "assessed that the TPP represents a net gain to the Australian economy".

It points to separate modelling by the World Bank, the Peterson Institute for International Economic, and the Research Institute of Economy Trade and Industry, that suggest Australia's GDP may increase by 0.7 per cent, 0.6 per cent, and 1.9 per cent respectively by 2030 as a consequence of the deal.

By tabling the TPP, the Turnbull government has begun the process that will lead to the deal's possible ratification by Australia's Parliament.

It is the fourth major trade agreement concluded by the Abbott-Turnbull governments, following agreements with Korea, Japan and China.

Mr Robb says the TPP is the "most significant global trade and investment agreement" in more than 20 years.

When combined with the still-to-be-concluded Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership - yet another huge trade agreement, but this time involving China and India - it will help to set up a massive Free Trade Area across the Asia-Pacific Region, he said.

"The opportunities this will present for an innovative, knowledge and services-based, trading nation such as ours, Mr Speaker, are limited only by the imagination," Mr Robb said.

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