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PM defends Trump’s free trade credentials

by April 22, 2017 General
Lisa MartinAustralian Associated Press

Malcolm Turnbull has defended President Donald Trump’s free trade credentials despite America’s withdrawal from the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership deal.

The prime minister discussed trade with US Vice President Mike Pence during their bilateral meeting in Sydney on Saturday.

Mr Trump's decision to pull out of the TPP effectively killed off the 12 country trade pact.

Other countries involved in the TPP were Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam.

Mr Turnbull played down Mr Trump's protectionist rhetoric and said it was the president's “sovereign right and solemn obligation” to decide whether deals were in America's interest.

“Each nation is committed to protecting its economic interest first and foremost,” he told reporters in Sydney, saying the US government had to make its own judgements.

“President Trump is an international businessman so he can hardly be described as somebody who is unused to the benefits of international trade and commerce, he understands it very well.”

Mr Pence said the TPP was a “thing of the past” for the US.

But he said the US would look for opportunities to expand trade on a bilateral basis.

He praised the US-Australia free trade agreement as a model deal.