Bishop backs deals

September 21, 2016

Australia will move on and pursue other trade deals in Asia if the Trans-Pacific Partnership collapses, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says.

The future of the 12-nation deal is in doubt with both United States presidential presidential frontrunners Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump opposed to it.

Australia and New Zealand are both signatories to the deal, along with Canada, Malaysia, Brunei, Chile, Singapore, Vietnam, Japan, Mexico and Peru.

But the agreement could die if President Barack Obama fails to guide it through Congress before he leaves the White House in January.

Ms Bishop held talks with representatives from both Clinton and Trump camps while in Washington on Saturday for an oceans conference, urging them to consider the deal.

She had a ‘‘fairly sympathetic’’ hearing from the representatives but Australia should continue to press the case for liberalised trade.

‘‘Invariably, if there is no Trans-Pacific Partnership, we will be looking for other free trade agreements and continuing our quest for a free trade zone in this part of the world, in the Asia-Pacific,’’ Ms Bishop said.

‘‘But we still want to see the Trans-Pacific Partnership pass through the US Congress.’’

Ms Bishop said Mr Obama was pressing the case for the deal.

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