Photographer: Brendon O'Hagan/Bloomberg

As TPP Falters, New Zealand Keen for Pacific Alliance Trade Deal

  • Trade Minister Todd McClay spoke in an interview in Chile
  • New Zealand looks to be Pacific Alliance associate state

New Zealand is looking to become one of the first associate states of the Pacific Alliance, clearing the way for trade talks with the four-nation bloc, Trade Minister Todd McClay said.

The bloc that includes Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Chile announced the creation of associate countries late yesterday, saying it would negotiate trade deals as a group for the first time. The associate states had yet to be identified, it said in a statement Tuesday.

"We’ll be working more closely with the Pacific Alliance for the next month or so to ensure that New Zealand is one of the first countries to have the associate membership,” McClay said in an interview Wednesday. Then New Zealand can “reach an agreement on a high quality comprehensive trade deal very quickly."

Fifteen nations from the Pacific Rim are meeting in Chile to discuss the shape of trade accords in the region after President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Trans Pacific Partnership. The TPP may push on without the U.S., McClay said, while leaving the door open to them or other countries “to continue playing a role in the Asia Pacific.”

“It is far too soon to say the agreement itself is finished,” McClay said. “We will use the next couple of months to analyze this further.”

Eleven member states of the TPP, excluding the U.S., issued a statement today reiterating their commitment to free trade Wednesday and expressed their concern about “protectionism in many parts of the world.”

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