Australia's dental industry is calling on the Australian Government to ensure that the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement underpins harmonisation and convergence of regulatory standards for dental products, and medical devices generally.
The peak representative body for suppliers of quality dental products, the Australian Dental Industry Association (ADIA) says this week's round of TPP negotiations in Brunei Darussalam presents the Australian Government with the opportunity to reduce technical barriers to trade associated with the export of dental products.
"Australia's dental industry has a small but robust manufacturing capacity. The TPP free trade agreement provides an opportunity to enhance their export opportunities by removing technical barriers to trade," said Troy Williams, ADIA Chief Executive Officer.
According to ADIA, the TPP should draw upon the work of the International Medical Device Regulators Forum (IMDRF) to encourage the convergence in regulatory practices related to ensuring the safety, effectiveness, performance and quality of medical devices, promoting technological innovation and facilitating international trade. The IMDRF is a group of medical device regulators who have come together to accelerate international medical device regulatory harmonisation and convergence.
"The position of Australian exporters of dental products and other medical devices would be considerably strengthened if the TPP free trade agreement is used as a catalyst to accelerate international medical device regulatory harmonisation and convergence," Mr Williams said.
Although the draft TPP free trade agreement remains confidential and not in the public domain, it is understood that the chapter on technical barriers to trade includes an annexure on medical devices that commits parties to collaboration to improve alignment of respective medical device regulations and regulatory activities with the objective of promoting public health while note creating unnecessary obstacles to trade.
"The objective of removing unnecessary obstacles for trade is supported without qualification by ADIA. Not only does it help exporters, it helps importers ensures that the Australian community has access, within a reasonable time, to the latest technologies," Mr Williams said.
The nineteenth round of negotiations on the TPP free trade agreement are to be held over 22–30 August 2013 in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam, and will include representatives from Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand and Peru, Singapore and the United States of America.