The CPTPP (also known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) is an historic and ambitious agreement. It is a regional free trade agreement with a membership that includes some of our most important trading partners from the dynamic Indo-Pacific region.

Here are five reasons why the CPTPP is a good deal for Australia.

The future of our region is tied to the future of APEC. With APEC’s continued efforts on sustainable, inclusive and innovative growth, and a focus on free and open trade, we hope to see everyone in our region reap the rewards.

Did you know Australia currently has ten Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with sixteen countries and more FTAs will enter into force in the future? Is Australia pursuing FTAs to the exclusion of other trade liberalising opportunities?  Are these FTAs being used by Australian business? Why is Australia so keen on FTAs?  This article addresses these questions and other matters relating to Australia’s FTA agenda.

he most interesting opportunities we get as DFAT officers are not always found behind a desk in Canberra. Earlier this year I had the opportunity to accompany Simon Newnham, Australia’s APEC Ambassador and First Assistant Secretary of the Investment and Economic Division, on a visit to Tokyo. As part of that visit, Simon addressed a Symposium hosted by Japan’s Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI) and the Australian National University (ANU).

2017 was a milestone year for Australian business engagement in ASEAN. In ASEAN’s 50th anniversary year, two Australian business chambers were established with a regional focus, reflecting the increased recognition in business circles of the exciting opportunities in ASEAN.

Keith Pitt speaking from a podium.

As I’ve travelled across the country presenting at the free FTA seminars, from Kununurra to Coffs Harbour, Hobart to Darwin, and Mackay to Murray Bridge, it’s been really pleasing to meet Aussie business people taking advantage of our FTAs.

It is the opportunities from Peru’s economic growth that we are trying to tap into with the Peru-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA).  We want to improve Australia’s competitive position in the Peruvian market. We want to create a higher level of legal certainty for Australians trading with and investing in Peru.  And we hope the Peru-Australia FTA will have a head-turning effect to encourage even closer ties between us.  All of that builds business links, and that means increased investment and employment.

Among the many revealing results in the recent Lowy Institute Poll was that 86 per cent of Australians trust Japan ‘to act responsibly in the world’, equal to trust in Germany and second only to confidence in the UK (90 per cent).

Australia is perfectly situated geographically, institutionally and linguistically, to service PNG’s emerging economy. The Australian Government’s decision to establish a Consulate-General in Lae recognises this and will support trade and investment links to the benefit of both Australia and PNG.

If my four years in Singapore, on top of more than three decades in the wider Australian foreign service, has convinced me of one thing, it is this: that the rise of the economies of Asia is the dynamic of our time. Australia stands to secure great benefit from these dynamics – if we play it right.