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Trans-Pacific Partnership: trade officials don’t know how it would work without US

Gareth Hutchens reports in The Guardian (22.1.17) on the Turnbull government’s ambition to press ahead with a Trans-Pacific Partnership deal despite US President Donald Trump’s seeming rejection of the plan.

‘Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade does not know how the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal would work without the United States, despite the Turnbull government’s heavy promotion of the idea.

‘The prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has spent the last few weeks pushing the idea of the 12-country TPP still going ahead, despite President Donald Trump’s antagonism towards the deal.

‘Turnbull and the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, have discussed the possibility of other TPP member countries ratifying the deal quickly to pressure the US to stay on board.

‘The trade minister, Steve Ciobo, met leaders from Japan, Canada, Mexico, Singapore and New Zealand last week in Switzerland to discuss ways to “take the TPP forward” without the US, given the deal was too important “not to do all we can to see [it] enter into force”, he said on Sunday.

‘But freedom of information documents show the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFat) has not been asked to model how the TPP would affect Australia’s economy if the agreement went ahead without the US.’

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