New Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement working in our favour

THERE will be those who suffer from the Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement signed last week but one man who has spent countless hours at the negotiation table says ultimately it can only benefit Australia.

Graham Blight, of Buderim, is a former president of the World Farmers Federation who was once appointed as a Special Trade Representative to support the Australian Government's global World Trade Organisation negotiations with farmer groups around the world.

He is also a former independent chairman of the Wheat Export Marketing Alliance (WEMA).

Mr Blight said there never has been and never will be a trade agreement in which everyone is a winner.

As the potential influx of cheaper foreign labour looms as a federal election issue, Mr Blight said the devil would always be in the detail.

But any agreement that worked towards getting rid of tariff barriers was going to be good for Australia.

"That's been proved over and over again,'' he said.

"There is an old saying that exports equal jobs. The way to grow the economy is to attract money from overseas to invest or do business.

"Anything that enhances that formula is a positive.''

He said there would be winners and losers.

"Those parts of society that are not competitive enough are going to be under pressure,'' Mr Blight said.

He points to the example of the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area where 85% of the rice produced was sold into the world market without subsidy as an example of how the right equipment and technique could overcome the lower wages and working conditions of competitors.

"If you want a trade system where everyone is a winner you are dreaming.

"Ultimately the success or failure of the Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement would depend on how well Australia took advantage of the opportunities and made adjustments to identify and address the areas in which we would struggle."