For New Zealand, a TPP without the USA is mostly pointless

If Donald Trump doesn’t want to be part of the TPP, other countries could just ditch him and go ahead with it anyway.

Prime Minister John Key says Trade Minister Todd McClay has been meeting with his counterparts, and some have expressed a wish to go ahead with the deal, even if they can’t get the US President-elect on side.

“The flavour that we’re getting out of a number of the TPP countries is that if they couldn’t get there with the United States, they’d rather go it alone than not get there at all,” says Mr Key.

“It’s one of those situations where if we really couldn’t, and if the United states absolutely under no conditions that were reasonable and fair wanted to engage into a free trade agreement, then we’ll have to consider whether what we’ve got on the table is the best alternative for us.”

The Prime Minister said he’s sure outgoing President Barack Obama will be disappointed if the United States doesn’t end up in the deal.

“We just have to accept there’s a new sheriff in town when it comes to the United States, and at the moment, he’s not supporting TPP.”

But he won’t give up on the United States as a free trade partner entirely.

“One in four consumer dollars is spent by a household in the United States – we just need better access to that market,” he says.

If it’s not through TPP then we’re going to have to find a better pathway, and that’s more tricky when you’re trying to negotiate a bilateral deal.”

And while Mr Trump has been very vocal about his opposition to the deal, Mr Key thinks he might still be swayed.

“As we know in the United States, what happens on a campaign trail and ultimately what happens in reality when someone assumes the Oval Office can be a bit different.

“What Donald trump has said is that TPP from his perspective is a horrible deal – he hasn’t said that he’s philosophically opposed to trade.

Key is on record saying that without the US, there isn’t much point for New Zealand to be involved.  It was the wedge to open up the American market.

Our hope lies in the fact that Trump’s administration will want to make deals that benefit the States instead of a Global trade objective.

Trade is trade however, and a TPP without the US will be better than no TPP at all.  It’s just not at all what the Government was hoping to achieve.

 

– Jenna Lynch,  Newshub

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