Channel 9, Today Show

  • Transcript, E&OE
Subjects: Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP); World Economic Forum; President Donald Trump.
23 January 2017

LISA WILKINSON: Trump has now confirmed that the US will move to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. So what does that mean for Australia going forward? The Minister for Trade and Investment Steven Ciobo joins me now, live from New York. Minister, good morning to you. Do you still plan to push ahead with the TPP now that we do have confirmation that the US will not be a party to the deal?

STEVEN CIOBO: Good morning Lisa, and look, Australia benefits from trade. We are a very trade-exposed economy and so it's good for us, good for Australian jobs for us to be able to trade as much as we possibly can. Now the TPP is a good deal for Australia. Even without the United States there's a lot of merit in looking at putting into place the TPP even if it's with the 11 other countries including Australia and not the United States.

LISA WILKINSON: But isn't the TPP essentially dead without the involvement of our closest ally?

STEVEN CIOBO: No well this is the point Lisa, there are a lot of gains that we're agreed to under the TPP agreement. These are good gains for Australia. It means we can export more Australian goods, more Australian services to all of the countries involved in the TPP. Now if the United States is not going to be a part of it, and it certainly looks like that's going to be the case, there's 11 other countries there included Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Chile, Peru, Singapore and others. And we're very focused on still capturing those gains that we were able to negotiate and agree upon.

LISA WILKINSON: Is there any chance you will do a single separate deal with the US?

STEVEN CIOBO: We've already got a free trade agreement in place with the United States that was brought in under the previous Howard Coalition Government, Lisa, so we've seen good growth in terms of Australian exports to the US, but ultimately I think people are still wanting to take a little bit of time to see exactly what the new Trump presidency is going to mean in terms of the United States outlook when it comes to trade.

LISA WILKINSON: Have you done any sort of economic modelling on how a new TPP without the US would work?

STEVEN CIOBO: No, it's early days Lisa. We were wanting to see exactly what the US President was going to do. I had the opportunity just recently at the World Economic Forum, to have conversations about whether we press on without the United States. I had those conversations with Canada, with Mexico, I had them with New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, and there's certainly a very large appetite to be able to do something. I want to make sure that we've got support back in Australia though, because Lisa, we can't walk away from doing trade that's good for Australia. And part of my concern is that Bill Shorten and Labor, in the same way that they were a bit weak when it came to the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, are frankly being a bit weak now when it comes to trade here as well.

LISA WILKINSON: Well Donald Trump has made it absolutely clear in his inauguration speech that he is going to put America first. That's got to mean that Australia is going to come second or maybe much worse than that.

STEVEN CIOBO: Well Lisa, the good news is that we make sure that we put Australia first when it comes to the types of trade deals that the Coalition has put into place. The deals we've done with China, with Korea, with Japan, we've seen record increases in terms of Australian exports abroad. I'm currently having discussions with Indonesia. I hope to conclude a free trade agreement, an export agreement with Indonesia this year. That's going to be good for Australian workers and good for Australian exports as well. So I understand that kind of language. I think everyone expects that as Australia's elected ministers that we would be putting Australian interests first, and that's what we're going to continue to do.

LISA WILKINSON: Okay, Steven Ciobo, Trade Minister, we thank you very much for your time this morning.

STEVEN CIOBO: Good to speak with you.


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