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Viability of TPP deal questioned after President Trump withdraws United States from deal -

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KIM LANDERS: Australia's Trade Minister is Steve Ciobo joins me on the line now from New York.

Minister, good morning.

STEVE CIOBO: Good morning, Kim.

KIM LANDERS: President Trump has signed that executive order in the Oval Office pulling the US out of the TPP, do you now accept the trade deal is dead?

STEVE CIOBO: Well, the TPP, including the United States certainly can't go forward unless the United States wants to change its mind.

But the point is though, Kim, that we have an agreement that has made a lot of varied gains, gains for Australia, Japan, Canada, Mexico and other countries, want to keep hold of, which is why a number of us had a conversation about a possible TPP 12 minus one, in other words, the transfer of partnership minus United States, in order to keep hold of the gains that we have been able to agree under the TPP as it is currently formulated.

KIM LANDERS: So how many countries would be up for a TPP without the United States?

STEVE CIOBO: Well, I've had conversations with Canada, with Mexico, with Japan, with New Zealand, with Singapore and Malaysia.

I know there has been conversations that have been had with Chile and with Peru. There is quite a number of countries have an interest in looking to see if we could make a TPP 12 minus one work.

Ultimately though, there is a number of competing factors in international trade space like there always is.

President Trump has indicated that he wants to renegotiate elements of the North American free trade agreement and that would have an impact on Canada and Mexico, which in term that would have an impacted in terms kind of deal that we could reach under the TPP 12 minus one.

Long story short, it's a moving space, but it's an important space, one that we must continue to shoot, give all the exporters the best chance to get preferential global access for Australian exports.

KIM LANDERS: Could China take the place of America? Is it as easy as taking one country out and slotting another in?

STEVE CIOBO: Well, the original architecture was 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 are able to reformulate it, to be a TPP 12 minus one, for countries like Indonesia or China, indeed other countries, to consider joining and to join in order to get the benefits that flow as a consequence.

KIM LANDERS: How quickly can Australia work with other countries to salvage the TPP?

STEVE CIOBO: Well, as a member of the Coalition, as you know Kim, we're very focused on making sure we continue to pursue making good trade deals for Australian exporters

That is part of the reason why I went to the World Trade Organisation ministerial meeting in Davos this week.

I had a chance to have conversations with a long number of countries that are my TPP counterparts. So this was a very much a live option and we are pursuing it and it will be the focus of conversations for some time to come.

KIM LANDERS: How much would the TPP, without the US, be worth to Australia? Do you have any figures on that?

STEVE CIOBO: Without the United States, I don't Kim, and the reason being because that modelling hasn't been basically done by anybody and the reason being because it was a hypothetical before today and now that it has happened, no doubt it will be looked at.

But it is also subject to what ultimately, the agreement will look like. So, what we want to do though, is to capture the gains that have been made.

The reason it's good for Australia, is because it's an agreement that would see the opportunity for Australians to have access to major markets like Canada and Mexico, on a more preferential bases than we currently do.

It would see the facilitation of trade; it would see lower compliances costs, which are a particularly important for small and medium sized Aussie exporters.

These are the gains that we want to make sure that we keep hold of.

KIM LANDERS: Donald Trump has reversed decades of economic policies in the US.

Many previous presidents on both side of politics, have lowered trade barriers, the US is one of Australia's biggest trading partners.

Do you have a sense of which of our exports might now suffer because of this?

STEVE CIOBO: Well we have a trade deficit with United States, but you know Kim, one of the things that we do for example, is that we by buying aircrafts from United States, we have of course, a number of Australian companies that supply as part of the global supply chains, to the buying company in the United States but importantly Kim, we also use those buy-ins to ferry more tourists than ever before into Australia.

This is exactly the kind of web of interrelationships that exist when it comes to trade because we use American businesses like buying to power our aircraft and get increase access for tourists who come to Australia and spend their money here and drive employment in Australia and that's precisely what I and the reason why the coalition are been so focussed on driving these trade deals because they are good for Australian workers

KIM LANDERS: If previously said, that the Government wanted to put the legislation to ratify the TPP before the Australian Parliament, are you going to go ahead and do that now that the US has officially withdrawn?

STEVE CIOBO: Well, what we are going to do Kim, is keep that option alive and I'll tell you what we are not going to do.

We are not going to be like Bill Shorten and the Labour Party and walk away from this deal because it now requires elbow grease.

We will not turn our backs…

KIM LANDERS: But would you put that legislation… Would you put that legislation before Parliament, when Parliament resumes next month or would you wait, perhaps until you sort out whether some countries, as you have mentioned, like Indonesia or China might want to join?

STEVE CIOBO: Well, it is a case of it being an ongoing discussion and so obviously, when the time is right, we will have a look at the best way forward.

But I want to reinforce though Kim, that we are not going to walk away from pursuing high quality trade deals that are good for Australian exporters and I just want to take this chance to reinforce, how poor the leadership is from the Opposition, that they would break, what has been effectively a bipartisan consensus for decades, that have in many respects underpinned Australia's economic growth.

It just reinforces that the Labour Party is too beholden to the Australian union movement to of course, oppose these big trade deals including China which has underpinned our growth now for quite some time.

KIM LANDERS: Oh right Minister, thank you very much for speaking with AM.

STEVE CIOBO: It's a pleasure, thanks.

KIM LANDERS: And that is the Trade Minister, Steve Ciobo, on the line from New York.