Trans-Pacific Partnership could go ahead without the United States

Donald Trump (Getty)
Donald Trump (Getty)

If Donald Trump doesn't want to be part of the TPP, other countries could just ditch him and go ahead with it anyway.

Leaders and trade ministers of the 12 countries signed up to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) have congregated in Peru for the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Week. 

Prime Minister John Key says Trade Minister Todd McClay has been meeting with his counterparts, and some have expressed a wish to go ahead with the deal, even if they can't get the US President-elect on side. 

"The flavour that we're getting out of a number of the TPP countries is that if they couldn't get there with the United States, they'd rather go it alone than not get there at all," says Mr Key.

"It's one of those situations where if we really couldn't, and if the United states absolutely under no conditions that were reasonable and fair wanted to engage into a free trade agreement, then we'll have to consider whether what we've got on the table is the best alternative for us."

The Prime Minister said he's sure outgoing President Barack Obama will be disappointed if the United States doesn't end up in the deal. 

"We just have to accept there's a new sheriff in town when it comes to the United States, and at the moment, he's not supporting TPP."

Trans-Pacific Partnership could go ahead without the United States

John Key in Peru (Jenna Lynch / Newshub.)

But he won't give up on the United States as a free trade partner entirely. 

"One in four consumer dollars is spent by a household in the United States - we just need better access to that market," he says.

If it's not through TPP then we're going to have to find a better pathway, and that's more tricky when you're trying to negotiate a bilateral deal."

And while Mr Trump has been very vocal about his opposition to the deal, Mr Key thinks he might still be swayed. 

"As we know in the United States, what happens on a campaign trail and ultimately what happens in reality when someone assumes the Oval Office can be a bit different.

"What Donald trump has said is that TPP from his perspective is a horrible deal - he hasn't said that he's philosophically opposed to trade.

"He hasn't had great things to say about TPP, but maybe with some coercion, maybe, maybe with some changes that we could agree to that didn't have an overall significant enough in pact to slow the thing down dramatically, maybe it's possible to get them there."

An urgent TPP meeting for all leaders of the 12 countries has been called by the United States and will take place between APEC commitments tomorrow.