Australia signs TPP amid economic benefit concerns

Canberra, Feb 4 (IANS) Australia’s Trade Minister Andrew Robb on Thursday signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), but rejected calls it needed an independent cost-benefit analysis.

Opponents of the TPP have called for the analysis after the World Bank revealed it would only lift Australia’s GDP by 0.7 percent by 2030, Xinhua news agency reported.

However, Robb, who signed the agreement with counterparts from the 11 other nations, said that calls for the cost-benefit analysis were the latest attempts by the “usual suspects” to derail the agreement.

“No we won’t (order the analysis), because they’re all the usual suspects,” Robb said.

“Most of the people driving that campaign have been opponents of free trade for decades. They’re entitled to that view, but nothing that would come out of an inquiry would change their mind, ” he said.

The trade minister, who was also in charge of negotiating Australia’s free trade agreement with China, praised the TPP and said it would open up opportunities for “millions” of Australians.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a multi-national free trade agreement between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US and Vietnam.

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