Cool response from Trade Minister to Trump‘s TPP u-turn

New Zealand is responding cautiously to news from the United States President Donald Trump trade deal – the CPTPP.

Trade Minister David Parker Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

Trade Minister David Parker said that was not something this country would ignore.

“The United States is the largest economy in the world and it‘s one of the two super powers beside China so its comments are of interest to us.”

But he questioned how “real the engagement” was, given similar comments from President Trump in Davos.

“The American system‘s very complex and the administration has many parts and not all parts of them have the same view so we‘re not sure where this ends.”

Several countries, including the United Kingdom and South Korea, have indicated preliminary interest in signing up to the agreement, Mr Parker said.

“And now the United States – if and when any of that becomes more real – the countries have to consider how they would deal with that in the context of the new CPTPP.”

Former Trade Minister Todd McClay said New Zealand should warmly welcome renewed US interest in the revised TPP – but cautioned striking a deal would be very difficult.

He said Mr Trump would want a lot more than was in the original TPP, and that would be hard for New Zealand to accept.

“The renegotiated deal, the strategy was to hold back things that America really wanted but keep the market access there so that US exporters were missing out.

“If Mr Trump now is saying he‘s interested in re-engaging in a TPP, it tells me the strategy New Zealand put in place is working but it would always be a very difficult negotiation.”

New Zealand is aiming to ratify the deal by the end of the year.

It will come into effect once ratified by at least half of the member countries.