- The Trans-Pacific Partnership represents region's highest priority trade negotiations.
- The long-term repercussions include whether Australia will be forced to choose between two alternative conceptualizations of economic cooperation
- The Trans-Pacific Partnership could take incrementalist steps to becoming a Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP)
To answer the crucial question of whether the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is in Australia’s national interests requires a review of its history. With the TPP’s emergence as a largely United States (US)-led initiative, a review of how, for example, it has confronted contentious negotiating issues such as the investor-state dispute mechanisms, intellectual, property and environment and labour laws are crucial to revealing hard truths. This includes: the extent of convergence and divergence between the US and Australian agenda; the role of mega-regional trade agreements like TPP and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in transforming economic relations in the Asia-Pacific and the follow-on impact on Australia; and the implications of securitising mega-regional agreements like TPP and the tertiary impact on the region. Overall, an assessment of the TPP will be made regarding its value to Australia, specifically to its long-term future.