Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

John Key says TPP has a 50:50 chance of being passed in Congress lame-duck period

Prime Minister John Key believes the TPP still has a 50-50 chance of being passed in the lame-duck Congressional period after the November 8 presidential election.

He says a lot would depend on the direction given by Congress' top ranking Republican, Speaker Paul Ryan, and whether Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton won the election.

Key is also skeptical that Republican candidate Donald Trump would be able to implement his trade policy which includes imposing a 45 per cent tariff on imports from China and threats to take the United States out of the World Trade Organisation.

SOME DISTANCE TO GO
"First he's got to win the election, second he's got to implement the policy and probably may well need Congressional support for that, so there's quite a lot of distance to travel," Key said at his post cabinet press conference.

Trump and Clinton both oppose the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal among 12 countries and signed in New Zealand in February.

It could pass in the lame duck period. Ryan said in August that the numbers weren't there although "Inside US Trade" reports that the Obama Administration is close to a solution on the biologics part of the TPP deal that has upset Republicans.

The lame-duck period is the session which meets after its successors have been elected but before they have been sworn in.
Congress is expected to resume in the week of November 14 for a month-long session, before a new President and Congress take over later in January.

In terms of TPP passing Key said: "It's definitely possible."

A WINDOW WITH A CLINTON WIN
"I think if Donald Trump wins it's got no chance But if Hillary Clinton won there is a possibility and a window."

But there was definitely a view out of Washington from some people that it would go ahead.

"I think it's a bit 50-50 myself."

Key said any kind of "anti-globalisation commentary" was negative for New Zealand.

"We are a small country positioned at the bottom of the world. We have a tiny population and our big opportunities lie when New Zealand companies get those opportunities to access middle-income consumers around the world including in the US."


In terms of the United States presence in the Asia Pacific, Key said it would be difficult to believe the US would have a reduced presence even with a Trump win.

SECURITY PARTNERS
Trump has said he wanted US allies to contribute more to the security alliances they have with the US (which 3 per cent of its gdp on defence). Its security partners in the Asia Pacific those countries are Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and Australia.

"Ultimately what might actually happen if Donald Trump won, none of us really know," said Key "but it is hard to believe the US still wouldn't want to have a big footprint out in Asia so we just have to wait and see really."

He did not see the US footprint in New Zealand changing in terms of co-operation around the Antarctic and the base at Christchurch which supported the US base at McMurdo Station.

"I don't think that would actually change.

"While we are technically part of Anzus that's suspended a long time ago.

"I don't think from a New Zealand perspective that changes a lot."

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told the Herald last week she did not believe Trump's criticism of allies' spending levels were directed at Australia because it was on track to spend 2 per cent of its gdp on defence.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf04 at 30 Mar 2017 06:29:18 Processing Time: 344ms