BHP Bil­li­ton chief ex­tols trade ben­e­fits

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS AMERICAS - By PAUL WELITZKIN in New York paulwelitzkin@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

In ar­gu­ing for free trade be­tween the US, China and the rest of the world, An­drew Macken­zie, CEO of BHP Bil­li­ton PLC, harkened back to the words of Ben­jamin Franklin.

“Franklin was a man of science and the world who ar­gued in fa­vor of free trade and who said no na­tion was ever ru­ined by trade,” Macken­zie told the Asia So­ci­ety on Mon­day in New York.

BHP is the world’s big­gest min­ing com­pany by mar­ket cap­i­tal­iza­tion.

Macken­zie spoke on “Asia & Glob­al­iza­tion: The Way For­ward,” as part of the Asia So­ci­ety’s CEO Se­ries. He ac­knowl­edged that trade has be­come a hot-but­ton is­sue.

Macken­zie en­cour­aged Congress to rat­ify the Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship (TPP), one of the most am­bi­tious free trade agree­ments. In ad­di­tion to the US, it in­volves 12 coun­tries: Ja­pan, Malaysia, Viet­nam, Sin­ga­pore, Brunei, Aus­tralia, New Zealand, Canada, Mex­ico, Chile and Peru.

TPP elim­i­nates most but not all tar­iffs on goods and ser­vices and at­tempts to es­tab­lish min­i­mal stan­dards on en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion, worker rights and reg­u­la­tions that mem­ber coun­tries will pledge to up­hold.

“While China is not cur­rently a party to TPP, I would ad­vo­cate for their in­clu­sion in fu­ture it­er­a­tions,” he said.

Macken­zie said that if the US and China are con­nected through TPP, “the world will be drawn to­gether and sta­bi­lized”.

TPP is an op­por­tu­nity for US be­cause it will give Amer­ica a chance to pro­vide the goods and ser­vices needed by an ex­pand­ing mid­dle class in Asia pro­jected to num­ber 3.2 bil­lion by 2030.

US crit­ics of TPP claim it is a give­away to big busi­ness that still will en­able com­pa­nies to ship jobs over­seas and would al­low multi­na­tion­als to chal­lenge reg­u­la­tions and court rul­ings be­fore spe­cial tri­bunals.

Macken­zie said that 20th cen­tury change was driven by “the val­ues, cul­ture and eco­nomic in­flu­ence of the US. Some peo­ple think that China will be to the 21st cen­tury what the United States was to the 20th.”

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