20:12 GMT25 October 2020
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    Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Thursday toned down his support for the collapsing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade deal in the face of US withdrawal and parliamentary opposition.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The 12-nation agreement, which has so far only been ratified by Japan and has been scrapped by new US President Donald Trump, is currently in the Australian Senate. The upper house will hear a report on the deal in February. Dominated the anti-TPP Australian Labor Party and the Greens, the Senate is unlikely to approve the agreement.

    "We will make the decision as to when legislation is introduced based on continuing discussions with other countries and, of course, the position in the Senate… It’s not my practice to introduce legislation into the parliament that isn't going to be passed. We’ll assess that on its merits," Turnbull said, as quoted by The Guardian newspaper.

    Turnbull has previously expressed hope that opposition within the US Republican Party, which is currently in control of the US legislature, will lead to a change in US policy on the TPP. He has also spoken with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, with both leaders expressing conviction that the deal would be beneficial to both countries. The deal can only proceed after at least six nations ratify it.

    Despite toning down his pro-TPP stance, the prime minister reiterated his hopes for the United States to reverse its withdrawal from the free trade deal.

    "Japan has ratified the TPP and encouraged us to complete our ratification process, as indeed, have other countries because everyone would like, in the future, the United States to rethink its position and join the TPP," the politician said.

    The parties to the TPP agreement were the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. The details of the controversial free trade agreement, negotiated in unusual secrecy, were revealed to the public after almost seven years of discussions. Opponents said the pact would undermine standards and regulations on environmental protection, health and safety, as well as workers’ rights.

    Tags:
    Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Donald Trump, Malcolm Turnbull, Australia
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