Kerry aims to ‘sal­vage’ Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship

The Sun (Malaysia) - - MEDIA & MARKETING -

WELLING­TON: US Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry re­fused to call last rites on the Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship (TPP) yes­ter­day, ex­press­ing hope Pres­i­den­t­elect Don­ald Trump will drop his op­po­si­tion to the con­tentious free trade deal.

The 12-na­tion TPP be­came a hot­but­ton is­sue dur­ing the US elec­tion cam­paign, with crit­ics in­clud­ing Trump say­ing it would cost Amer­i­can jobs.

Kerry said in­ter­na­tional trade was crit­i­cal to US in­ter­ests and the TPP could help grow the econ­omy.

“I think as peo­ple ex­am­ine it and be­gin to get be­yond the cam­paign and be­gin to dig into it, my hope is it can sum­mon the sup­port that it needs,” he told re­porters dur­ing a trip to New Zealand.

The TPP in­cludes a dozen Asi­aPa­cific na­tions that to­gether ac­count for 40% of the global econ­omy. They are the United States, Ja­pan, Aus­tralia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mex­ico, New Zealand, Peru, Sin­ga­pore and Viet­nam. It has been signed but is yet to be rat­i­fied by law­mak­ers in the US.

Kerry said he and Pres­i­dent Barack Obama re­mained “deeply com­mit­ted” to the deal but would not try to push it through in the so-called “lame duck” leg­isla­tive ses­sion be­fore Trump takes over.

“I be­lieve there’ll be a ro­bust de­bate about it and there’s enough ben­e­fit in it for every­body that ul­ti­mately peo­ple will come to see this as a dif­fer­ent kind of agree­ment,” Kerry said.

He also de­nied that the TPP was in­tended to cre­ate an eco­nomic bul­wark against China’s rise in the Asia-Pa­cific. “It’s not about China ... we’re not look­ing for com­pe­ti­tion or con­flict, we’re look­ing for co­op­er­a­tion.” – AFP

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