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English optimistic 'TPP 11' will go ahead

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 21/05/2017

Prime Minister Bill English is optimistic a Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement can still be achieved and says that even without the United States it would be worth $200 million a year to New Zealand's exporters.

President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the TPP, leaving the other 11 nations looking for ways to keep it going.

At a meeting in Hanoi over the weekend, co-chaired by New Zealand, they decided unanimously pursue that goal.

Mr English has just returned from Japan, and says the Japanese government - a key player - is committed to driving TPP 11 forward.

"The immediate benefit of the TPP 11 would be an annual saving through (lower) tariffs of $200 million," he said at his post-cabinet press conference on Monday.

Mr English believes the US could still join the TPP - if there is an agreement in place.

"One of the reasons, the incentives, for the TPP 11 to proceed is that a trade agreement in action would be one which the US could join in the future," he said.

"Without it, there's unlikely to be any free trade agreement with the US."

Earlier on Monday Mr English said it would still be a good deal for New Zealand despite the previously-agreed concessions on pharmaceuticals, which the US insisted on.

"It's not at great cost to us," Mr English told TVNZ.

"In the short term there are real gains for New Zealand and we just don't want to let those go."

Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam remain in TPP talks.

Their officials will meet again in Japan in July and bring forward proposals in November.

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