In a perfect world all trade would be unhampered by subsidies, tariffs or other costly interventions in between willing buyers and willing sellers.
Those selling goods and services would have more potential customers and consumers would have a better range of quality and price from which to choose.
In this less than perfect world politics, bureaucracy, protectionism and other anti-competitive behaviour get in the way of markets.
Free trade deals are never perfect but they are worth pursuing if they provide sufficient improvements over all for the countries signing up to them.
The many hours and many more dollars spent on Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations aren’t aiming for perfection, but any deals reached will have to deliver significant improvements on existing restrictions and protections to make signing up worth while.
We have a much greater range of goods and services we can buy and sell, and at better prices, as a result of FTAs already established. The TPP could provide even more opportunities.
Our negotiators can’t hope for a perfect deal but they should continue to work towards improvements on what we have now with too many hurdles our businesses have to leap for access to other Pacific markets.