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Donald Trump withdraws US from TPP

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 23/01/2017 By Peter Mitchell, AAP US Correspondent

US President Donald Trump has killed America's involvement in the Trans-Pacific Partnership mega free trade deal with New Zealand, Australia, Japan and eight other Pacific nations.

Trump signed an executive order on Monday to withdraw the US from the TPP.

"Everyone knows what that means, right?" Trump said at the signing ceremony in the White House.

"We've been talking about this for a long time.

"It's a great thing for the American worker."

It is a major blow to the New Zealand government, with Prime Minister Bill English saying on Monday the US withdrawal from the trade agreement would be a negative for the country.

He hoped Trade Minister Todd McClay would meet with his new US counterpart in weeks and remained hopeful some of the benefits of the trade deal could still be introduced in some form.

But salvaging the TPP doesn't have the support of Green Party trade spokesman Barry Coates, who instead backs new agreements.

"The TPPA was always more about extending the rights of multinational corporations than it was about actual trade," he said.

"The EU scrapped its version of the TPPA, the TTIP, and is rethinking its approach. New Zealand and the Asia-Pacific region should too."

Withdrawing from the TPP is one of Trump's first major moves since being sworn in as president on Friday.

Trump said on Monday he is pursuing what he calls "fair trade", not free trade, and he has China and Japan in his sights.

He called out Japan for making "it impossible to sell" US cars in Japan.

"If you want to sell something into China and other countries it's very, very hard," Trump told a meeting of chief executives of some of America's biggest companies earlier on Monday.

"In some cases it's impossible. They won't even take your product. But when they do take your product they charge you a lot of tax. I don't call that free trade. What we want is fair trade."

He also indicated he would speak with leaders of the TPP partner countries to come up with individual trade deals.

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