Government scrambles after Trump pulls US out of TPP

Video: Donald Trump signs executive order withdrawing US from Trans-Pacific Partnership (ABC News)

The Federal Government is scrambling to rethink the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) after President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the Asian trade deal.

Now Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is instead hoping the remaining 11 countries can salvage the deal, though he said there was potential for the US to return to the table in the future.

Mr Trump signed an executive order overnight to pull the US out of the 12-country agreement, which could have solidified his country's leadership in the Asia-Pacific.

Mr Trump described the deal — which would have covered nearly 40 per cent of the global economy — as a "rape" of his country.

Mr Turnbull said the withdrawal was a "big loss", but not necessarily the end of the deal.

"It is possible that US policy could change over time on this, as it has done on other trade deals," he said.

The Government had been pushing hard for Parliament to confirm the deal as soon as possible, but Trade Minister Steve Ciobo now said the Government would keep its options open.

"It is a case of being an ongoing discussion and obviously when the time is right, we'll have a look at the best way forward," he said.

"We are not going to walk away from pursuing high-quality trade deals."

Mr Ciobo said there was also potential for countries such as China to join the TPP.

"The original architecture was to enable other countries to join," he said.

"Certainly I know Indonesia expressed a possible interest and there would be scope for China if we were able to reformulate it."

Mr Ciobo's predecessor Andrew Robb said it would be difficult but not impossible to incorporate China.

The former trade minister told the ABC the deal was "a very big omelette to unscramble".

"If you took out the United States to reconfigure it effectively or to bring someone else in, it is going to be a very difficult task," he said.

"It's not impossible to bring China in, but you'd be up for another four or five years of negotiations."

Mr Robb echoed Mr Turnbull's optimism on the potential for the Trump administration to change its mind in the future, saying: "I'd leave the TPP in the top drawer."

Japan is the only country to ratify the deal to date, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reiterating his commitment to the TPP during a phone call with Mr Turnbull last night.

Video: Trying to save the TPP 'the height of delusional absurdity': Shorten (ABC News)

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the deal was "not going to see the light of day".

Mr Shorten said pursuing the agreement on the hopes that the US would change its mind was "the peak of delusional absurdity".

"Ever since Donald Trump got elected back in November, Mr Turnbull should have realised that the Trans-Pacific Partnership was dead," he said.

Contact Stephanie Anderson

photo Government scrambles after Trump pulls US out of TPP images

photo of Government scrambles after Trump pulls US out of TPP

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