Australia continues to push for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal after President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the accord.
The pull-out was one of Trump’s first executive orders, fulfilling his campaign promise.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said while US’ withdrawal represented a “big loss”, the deal should not be abandoned.
“It is possible that US policy could change over time on this, as it has done on other trade deals,” Turnbull said. “There is also the opportunity for the TPP to proceed without the United States. I’ve had active discussions with other leaders as recently as last night.”
Turnbull also said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose country was the only one to have ratified the deal to date, reiterated his commitment to the deal through a phone call on Monday.
Trade Minister Steve Ciobo said he had reached out to fellow signatories. “I’ve had conversations with Canada, with Mexico, with Japan, with New Zealand, with Singapore, Malaysia,” Ciobo told the ABC on Monday. “So there’s quite a number of countries that have an interest in looking to see if we can make a TPP 12 minus one work.”
Ciobo also said the deal had been designed to enable other countries to join.
“Certainly I know that Indonesia has expressed a possible interest and there would be scope for China if we were able to reformulate it to be a TPP 12 minus one for countries like Indonesia or China or indeed other countries to consider joining and to join in order to get the benefits that flow as a consequence.”