New Zealand Wary of Trump's Pacific Trade U-Turn

14 April, 2018, 22:16 | Author: Bert Pena
  • Containers at a port

"A short time ago, I ordered the U.S. Armed Forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities of Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad", President Donald Trump said from the White House. And I think the president realizes, as President Obama did, that having closer links economically with those countries increases our defense capabilities and readiness.

Ministers from Japan, Australia and Malaysia welcomed US President Donald Trump directing officials to explore returning to the TPP, a pact he withdrew from shortly after taking office.

"When the USA walked away, they dropped a lot our intellectual property provisions and labor provisions that made the agreement really important", he said.

Japan's trade minister, Toshimitsu Motegi, warned that it would be hard to renegotiate, saying TPP is a well-balanced agreement based on the varying interests of the signatory nations. That could complicate talks as Japan maintains that it has already given all the concessions it could, said trade expert William Reinsch of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies. New Zealand's trade minister said his country is not blind to the benefits of free trade with the world's largest economy, but US participation remains theoretical.

"The real strategy we need is to lead all of those rule of law nations in the Pacific who would rather be aligned with the USA than with China".

However, they also cautioned against making any significant changes. One change the new government made was to introduce new laws that will restrict the sales of New Zealand homes to foreign buyers, a provision Parker said would not change were the U.S.to join the pact. So we'd have to get those back into the deal when they've been stripped out.

Mattis disclosed that the US had not yet confirmed that the most recent suspected Syrian chemical weapons attack, on April 7 in the Damascus suburb of Douma, included the use of sarin gas. In May 2017, the Trump Administration announced that the European Union agreed to reduce burdensome inspection requirements for USA citrus exports.

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"Last year, the President kept his promise to end the TPP deal negotiated by the Obama Administration because it was unfair to American workers and farmers", White House Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters said Thursday afternoon.

It is also unclear how serious Mr Trump is about rejoining.

"We welcome the United States coming back to the table but I don't see any wholesale appetite for any material re-negotiation of the TPP-11", Australia Trade Minister Steven Ciobo said Friday. "You'd need a whole renegotiation". And then he has to do that now with the USA isolated as an outsider.

"The combined American, British and French response to these atrocities will integrate all instruments of our national power: military, economic and diplomatic", Trump said.

In a statement late Friday night, the Russian ambassador to the U.S., Anatoly Antonov, said, "We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences".

I favored staying in the TPP as a means of countering China.

More broadly, it signals to the region that the United States is not giving up on trade, despite Trump's sometimes harsh words.

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