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Can't swap China for US in TPP: Emerson

AAP logoAAP 22/11/2016

China can't just be swapped in for the US to secure the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact, former minister Craig Emerson says.

President-elect Donald Trump says he'll begin a US withdrawal from the 12-nation deal from his first day in office, prompting calls for countries to turn to China instead.

"You can't just remove the USA and insert China and have a TPP," Dr Emerson told ABC radio.

Trade Minister Steve Ciobo insisted the TPP is a good deal for Australia.

He conceded technically there was no pact without the US because it needed to ratify the TPP for it to come into effect.

But there were other avenues.

"We have the option of making some small changes to the agreement to make it come into effect excluding the United States if that was the prevailing mood," he told ABC TV.

"Likewise, we could look at other countries like Indonesia or China, for example, if they chose to become involved in the TPP, wanting to harness its benefits as well."

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