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Trump will have momentous impact: Bishop

The election of Donald Trump as US president will have a momentous impact on the world, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop believes.

But she says Australia is well-positioned to use strong ties with the incoming administration to protect and advance its interests.

“The impact of the US presidential election is always profound and this one, I believe, will be momentous,” she told ABC radio on Thursday.

“He certainly is a figure of change.”

She noted the Turnbull government had been “calm and measured” in its approach to the US election and Mr Trump and said it already had good connections with his campaign and transition teams.

The foreign minister already has met Trump’s head of national security and believes Australia can have a strong working relationship with him.

She also had a long discussion with Australian ambassador to the US Joe Hockey on Thursday morning.

“We will see opportunities to advance our interests and we will certainly do so,” she said.

“This is an opportunity to refresh, renew, reinvigorate the alliance.”

It was not easy to draw comparisons between the US election and movements in Australian politics because of the vast differences, not least on economic fronts, Bishop said.

Meanwhile US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has dashed any remaining hopes that President Barack Obama’s signature Pacific-Rim trade deal will come up for a vote before President-elect Donald Trump takes office in January.

“It’s certainly not going to be brought up this year,” McConnell said of the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Austrralia is a part of, at a news briefing in Washington.

McConnell said any decisions on TPP or other future trade agreements would be up to Trump, who would still have the authority for four more years to negotiate “better deals” with expedited approval procedures in Congress.

Trump excoriated TPP on the campaign trail as a “disaster” and “a rape of our country,” tapping into populist anger at globalisation, trade and manufacturing job losses that helped propel his candidacy.

The Obama administration has been promoting TPP among lawmakers and industry groups in anticipation of a long-shot, post-election vote despite opposition to the deal by Trump and his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest was still trying to sell the TPP agreement in a news briefing on Wednesday.

“President Obama does continue to believe that this is the best opportunity that the Congress has to take advantage of the benefits of a Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement that cuts taxes, 18,000 taxes, that other countries impose on American products,” Earnest told reporters.

“We’ve got a strong case to make.”

But the strong vote for Trump in industrial states made it unlikely Republicans would be willing to go against him on trade policy, analysts said.

“It’s fair to say that TPP is now in the dustbin of history,” said Gary Hufbauer, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a pro-trade think tank in Washington. “I don’t see a path forward for the United States to join.”

Speaking to Inside Retail, Australian Retailers Association executive director, Russell Zimmerman said retailers will be very dependent on how consumer confidence is affected by Trump’s win.

“Our big concern would be around consumer confidence and we would hope that it would be not be affected in Australia by what appears to be a decision by the American public that was probably far from expected,” he said.

Zimmerman added with Australia importing more goods than exporting from the US that the ramifications of the Republican election victory would likely not be immediately felt by retailers.

“When Brexit happened and the share market dropped but within a few days it rebounded – we need to give it a bit of time and not get too excited.”

Inside Retail with AAP & Reuters

This story first appeared on our sister site, Inside Retail Australia.

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