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It’s official: Trump pulls pin on TPP trade deal

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It’s official: Trump pulls pin on TPP trade deal article image

US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order withdrawing the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal.

Mr Trump delivered on a campaign promise to formally withdraw from the TPP, which was negotiated by Barack Obama between 12 countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Japan and eight other Pacific nations.

Mr Trump claims the agreement would harm the US economy.

The order signed in a special ceremony at the White House was a "great thing for the American worker," Mr Trump said.

The move is a major blow to the Australian government, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Trade Minister Steven Ciobo hoping Mr Trump would reconsider the decision.

In a phone call last night, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe reiterated their commitment to the TPP, despite Mr Trump's opposition.

Mr Ciobo who is currently in New York for the G’DAY USA promotion, said: “It's a great shame. It's not unexpected.”

Working with other TPP countries

Australia and other TPP countries are still focused on capturing the gains that were agreed to under the TPP, he said.

Mr Ciobo said the government was willing to work with the other 10 participating countries to find a way forward for the TPP.

The other TPP countries are: Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam.

“It will mean some reformulation and some discussion in relation to that but we are not as a Coalition Government going to walk away from the opportunity to continue growing Australian exports and to continue creating job opportunities for Australians into the future,” Mr Ciobo said.

Mr Ciobo met with trade representatives from TPP countries as part of the Word Trade Organisation ministerial meeting last week.

“We did canvass what I call a TPP 12 minus one, in other words, the TPP minus the United States,” he said.

Mr Ciobo said the TPP is a good deal for Australia – with or without the US.

Good form of common rules

It provides a standard set of rules, and if we're able to reformulate an agreement and have all 11 countries involved, a good form of common rules that apply across those 11 countries.”

“It would also see a situation where we'd have enhanced Australian access for Aussie exporters into key markets like Canada and Mexico, for example, where we currently don't have a bilateral free trade agreement.

Plan to boost US manufacturing

“It also, of course, would reduce the cost of compliance, and that's really important for Australian small to medium enterprises, which, of course, want lower barriers to trade. And they are the drivers, not only of the Australian economy and of our exports, but also, of course, of employment.”

Withdrawing from the TPP is one of the new US President's first major moves since his inauguration last Friday.

Mr Trump, who wants to boost US manufacturing, said he would seek one-on-one trade deals with countries that would allow the US to quickly terminate them in 30 days "if somebody misbehaves".

“What we want to do is bring manufacturing back to our country. "We're going to stop the ridiculous trade deals that have taken everybody out of our country and taken companies out of our country," Mr Trump told union leaders in a recent meeting at the White House.

The TPP, which took nearly five years to negotiate, was part of the Obama administration's plan to counter China trade in the Asia-Pacific region.

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