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Trump set to kill TPP with Australia, NZ

Donald Trump is set to kill the Trans-Pacific Partnership between the US, Australia, New Zealand and nine other Pacific countries within hours of being sworn in as the 45th president of the US.

Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer said on Thursday the president-elect would stick to his planned list of executive orders aimed at striking down some of the cornerstones of President Barack Obama’s eight years in the White House, including the proposed TPP.

In November Trump released a video of his policy plans for the first 100 days and the “potential disaster for our country” TPP was top of his list.

“Part of what he announced in the executive order list around the Thanksgiving time included the actions on both TPP and NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement),” Spicer told reporters. “They will be done by executive order so I think you will see those happen very shortly.”

In Trump’s video message in November he vowed to “issue our notification of intent to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership”.

Spicer’s TPP executive order confirmation is a blow to the Australian government and other nations hoping to keep the TPP alive. Australian Trade Minister Steven Ciobo denied in an interview with America’s CNN this week the TPP was “dead”.

“What I would encourage President-elect Trump to do, what we’d really encourage the Americans to do, is to consider that there may be aspects of the TPP that they don’t like, but this is not a deal to be junked,” Ciobo said.

Trump has talked about negotiating one-on-one trade deals with nations, instead of multi-country pacts like TPP and NAFTA. Trump has also said deals will only be signed if they favoured the US. Spicer confirmed this remained Trump’s strategy.

“I think the president’s message on trade has been fairly clear,” Spicer said. “He is going to fight for American workers and American manufacturing and that’s going to be the number one thing that guides him going forward.

“He has talked about bilateral deals. He is going to make sure every deal he cuts, just like he did in business, puts American workers and American manufacturing, American services first.”

Trump will be sworn in on Friday (Saturday AEDT) in Washington DC. Australian ambassador to the US Joe Hockey will represent Australia at the ceremony. Spicer said Trump would immediately get to work enacting an agenda of change that included TPP, Obamacare, the war against Islamic State and other key issues Trump promised to act on.

“I think you’ll see some activity on both tomorrow, over the weekend and then Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday so it is going to be a robust, not just day one, but I think first week, first month, first term,” Spicer said.

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