JOURNALIST: What were the exchanges concerning TPP today?
STEVEN CIOBO: We’ve had a very good round of meetings here in Japan. It’s always a terrific privilege to visit Japan. You have a very beautiful country and I enjoy the opportunity to visit as Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister.
Today I’ve had the opportunity to meet with a number of Japan’s Ministers to talk about the strong goodwill that exists between Japan and Australia. The focus on this, the 60th anniversary of the relationship in terms of economic cooperation between Japan and Australia, and to reflect on the fact that under the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement we’ve seen our trade and investment relationship go from strength to strength.
I’ve also been buoyed by the fact that we continue to see really strong growth in tourists both from Australia to Japan as well as from Japan to Australia. On the TPP, we had the chance to have a conversation about our mutual interests in holding onto the gains that have been agreed to under the TPP. If that is a TPP-11, that is all TPP countries minus the United States, then we think there is real benefit from moving forward.
Ultimately this has got to be a key focus for officials when they meet in early May in Canada but also a key discussion point for all 11 countries in Hanoi around APEC. But certainly Australia and Japan share common ground and common interest about our desire for the TPP to continue forward as a TPP-11.
JOURNALIST: Did you get the feeling that you could have Japan’s understanding regarding the TPP-11?
STEVEN CIOBO: I think Japan and Australia, as I mentioned, share a common interest and common ground on TPP-11.
JOURNALIST: What is the meaning and significance of creating a framework for TPP-11 without the United States?
STEVEN CIOBO: There are a lot of benefits that flow from the TPP. Those are benefits that we should hold onto, benefits especially in driving economic growth, driving employment opportunities and there are also a myriad of benefits that flow for the 11 countries that would be in the TPP-11. Ultimately, each government is motivated to drive economic growth, especially at a time of economic challenge and that’s the main benefit.
JOURNALIST: With the prospect that the TPP will not be taking effect it seems that the US beef industry is becoming quite aggressive. What is your take on this?
STEVEN CIOBO: Well I think it’s too early to say the TPP won’t come into effect. The clear view from Australia, from a number of other countries that have agreed to the TPP, as well as the discussions I’ve had with Japanese Ministers today, indicate a strong desire for the TPP to come into effect, without the United States if need be.
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