Australia and New Zealand have said they hope to salvage the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) by encouraging China and other Asian countries to sign up, after President Donald Trump formally pulled the US out of the huge trade deal.

The agreement, the biggest trade deal in history,  was signed in 2015 by 12 countries, which together account for 40 percent of the global economy.


Australia, Vietnam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Brunei, United States (withdrawn)

Malcolm Turnbull, Australia’s prime minister, said on Tuesday his government was in “active discussions” with other signatories – including Japan, New Zealand and Singapore – on how to salvage the agreement.

“It is possible that US policy could change over time on this, as it has done on other trade deals,” Turnbull told reporters in Canberra, adding that the nominee for US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and other Republicans supported the TPP.

“There is also the opportunity for the TPP to proceed without the United States,” he added. “Certainly there is the potential for China to join the TPP.”

The agreement, which has not yet gone into effect, was seen as a counter to China’s rising economic influence.