Patrick Gower: Bill English has saved TPP

OPINION: Bill English has saved the TPP.

The TPP is on again - and it is thanks to Bill English.

They are not lines that opponents of the trade deal want to hear, but it is the reality they must now deal with.

The TPP is a goer again.

English and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have managed to give it new life.

TPP is now officially and indisputably "the trade deal that just won't die".

Prime Minister Bill English and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (Patrick Gower/ Newshub)
Prime Minister Bill English and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (Patrick Gower/ Newshub)

Last night English and Abe agreed to a "firm commitment to TPP", which English said was "better than I expected".

In a joint statement, they were "committed to maintaining the unity among the signatories and early entry into force of the TPP".

Translated, that means it is yet another last chance for trade ministers to get together in Vietnam in the coming days and do a "TPP 11" without the United States.

Basically with Abe coming in so hot for TPP the deal still has the grunt of Japan as the third biggest economy in the world.

So Abe is of course the leader most responsible for getting TPP back on. He wants to be a bigger global player and this is part of that push.

But English was in the right place at the right time to be on Abe's shoulder for a global economic power play.

And that is a foreign policy win for English - and a loss for the opponents of TPP.

Last night English and Abe agreed to a "firm commitment to TPP" (Patrick Gower/ Newshub)
Last night English and Abe agreed to a "firm commitment to TPP" (Patrick Gower/ Newshub)

In my view, it is not really TPP without the United States. It is the "TPP in name only" or "TPP-lite". It may soon end up on its deathbed again.

But for now at least, TPP has been saved.

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