On October 5, 2015, trade ministers reached agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The trade and investment agreement includes 12 countries, representing 40 per cent of the global economy: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States, and Vietnam. Published on November 5, the text is available at http://www.tpp.mfat.govt.nz/text.
Tariff reduction schedules had already been set for hundreds of items. The final round of negotiations started in Atlanta, United States, on September 30, and centered on the more politically charged issues. The negotiating partners finally reached agreement on issues involving sectors such as biologic drug developers, dairy farmers, and auto producers. Minimum standards were also agreed on regarding environmental, labour, intellectual property, and other matters.
As reported by ITN in May, Australia had indicated in one of these texts that the investor–state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism under TPP would not be available for use by Australian investors or against Australia, except under “certain conditions.” The text seems to have given Australian Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb enough confidence to state that “Australia will be able to ensure that tobacco control measures are never open to challenge.”