Australia not giving up on Trans-Pacific Partnership

Australia not giving up on Trans-Pacific Partnership

SBS World News Radio: The Federal Government hopes to salvage the TPP after President Trump pulled the United States out of the trade deal.  

As Malcolm Turnbull sees it, the US withdrawal from the TPP doesn't mean the deal has suffered a mortal wound.

"President Trump has said America will not proceed with the Trans-Pacific Partnership. You have to recognize that his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has been a long time advocate for it. The Republican party in the Congress have been strong supporters of the TPP so it is possible that US policy could change over time on this."

Trade Minister Steve Ciobo has told Sky News the government will continue to pursue the benefits of the TPP.

"We've known that President Trump since the inauguration had intended to have the US withdraw from the TPP. And it's a great shame, it's not unexpected. But Australia and quite a number of the other TPP countries are very focused on making sure that we recapture the gains that were agreed to under the TPP. It will mean some reformulation and some discussion in relation to that, but you know, we are not as a Coalition government, going to walk away from the opportunity to walk away from Australian exports; and to continue to create job opportunities for Australians into the future."

Opposition leader Bill Shorten says the government should not have held out any hopes for US involvement following Donald Trump's election win.

He says doing so amounts to the the peak of delusional absurdity.

"Of course, we need to salvage our trade agreements and I do think it is important to pursue trade arrangements with nations. Many of the nations who were in the Trans-Pacific Partnership have already got agreements with us. What's important is to pursue multilateral trade agreements which create Australian jobs. This is the problem today for Mr Turnbull. He spends too much time playing politics and criticising Labor for something that everyone in the world knew was going to happen once Donald Trump got elected. Malcolm Turnbull needs a plan for jobs, not just a plan for his own job of playing politics."

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young says the TPP was only ever go to benefit big corporations.

"This deal was a bad deal from the beginning, drawn up by big corporations in order to suit themselves rather than the people and the communities of the countries that had signed up. It's time to go back to the drawing board, it's time to negotiate decent trade deals that will put people back in the centre and put the big corporations back in their box."

Andrew Shearer from the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington says the US withdrawal has created a power vacuum in terms of redesigning the economics of the Asia Pacific.

He says China has already indicated it wants to fill the void but says its protectionist approach will prevent it from doing so.

"I don't see China stepping in to that leadership role, but I think we're going to see a tussle for influence, I think we're going to see a push for the US to reach out and strike more of these quick bilateral trade deals and I think we'll see China up its efforts to entice regional countries into trade deals as well and Australia is going to have to be alert to the opportunity and the risk that our competitors could get the jump on us if we're not agile and, in particular, if we don't make our economy more competitive."







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