BHP Boss Pushes for China’s Entry to Trade Pact Opposed by Trump

  • Andrew Mackenzie delivers speech to Asia Society in New York
  • TPP gives opportunity to tap into growing Asia services demand

The head of the world’s biggest mining company called for China’s entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership and warned that populist politics risk undermining the benefits of free trade.

“Despite what the current political landscape will have you think, the U.S., and the world, ultimately benefits from free trade,” Chief Executive Officer Andrew Mackenzie said Monday. “Let’s hope these benefits don’t fall victim to short-term populism that doesn’t always consider long-term benefits.”

Mackenzie made the comments in a speech delivered to the Asia Society in New York that was peppered with references to Benjamin Franklin’s support of free trade. He said the 12-member TPP pact that’s been led by the U.S. offered American enterprises and workers an opportunity to tap into demand for services generated by Asia’s middle class, which is expected to reach 3.2 billion people by 2030.

Donald Trump, the U.S. Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee, has voiced his opposition to the TPP, prompting concern among Southeast Asian nations that if he wins in November, the U.S. will pivot away from Asia, reversing President Barrack Obama’s strategy of rebalancing power toward the region. Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton has also refused to back the pact that she once called the gold standard for such agreements.

The TPP is yet to be ratified by the U.S. and countries including Japan. The World Bank estimates it could raise gross domestic product by an average 1.1 percent in member countries by 2030.

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