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Free trade is seen to the biggest driver for economic and international prosperity.
Pressure is mounting on US president Barack Obama to garner support from the Democrats for a crucial trade bill to grant the president what is formally known as 'Trade Promotion Authority'.
This bill would grant Mr Obama the 'fast-track' authority he needs to wrap up the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with Australia and 10 other Pacific Rim economies.
If successfully concluded, the TPP, which covers about 40 per cent of the global economy, would be the biggest trade deal sealed in the world in two decades.
It has been held out as a precondition by Australia, Japan, New Zealand and other TPP countries to concluding the deal.
The TPP agreement would bring together the economies of the U.S., Japan, Australia and nine other Pacific Rim nations, allowing the free trade of everything from agriculture to automobiles and textiles to pharmaceuticals.
The TPP isn’t really about manufacturing - globalization in that sector is a fait accompli.
The future of trade liberalization, many say, is in agriculture and services where the U.S. advantage is strongest. This agreement will potentially be of huge economic benefit to Australia as the economy rebalances away from hard commodities.
We await to hear the outcome of the vote in Congress today.
This alert covers legal and technical issues in a general way. It is not designed to express opinions on specific cases. The alert is intended for information purposes only and should not be regarded as legal advice. Further advice should be obtained before taking action on any issue dealt with in this publication.