Trudeau no-show derails TPP trade deal

November 10, 2017

Malcolm Turnbull is preparing to pursue politically-charged trade and security talks in Vietnam.

Malcolm Turnbull has arrived in Vietnam to finalise lucrative trade deals, but is still being forced to juggle the citizenship saga back home.

The prime minister touched down on Thursday night before meeting with business leaders at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.

He is preparing to urge global economic leaders to embrace open, transparent trade markets and resist the rising populist tide of protectionism.

"Free trade means more jobs, more prosperity in Australia. That's why we back it so strongly," Mr Turnbull told reporters soon after arriving in Da Nang.

But as he seeks to pursue regional trade pacts, the prime minister is also looking to land an agreement with Bill Shorten to settle the citizenship mess.

"Well, you know, multitasking is the occupational objective of prime ministers," he said.

In Vietnam, the prime minister's advocacy of open markets will see him navigate a delicate course between Donald Trump's anti-trade populism and China's assertive state capitalism.

Mr Turnbull will on Friday finalise a free trade deal with Peru on the sidelines of the APEC summit.

The agreement will eliminate 99 per cent of tariffs faced by exporters into Peru, with Australian sugar, beef and dairy producers expected to benefit most.

Mr Turnbull has described the Peru FTA as the first step towards a larger alliance including the fast-growing Latin American economies of Chile, Colombia and Mexico.

He will undoubtedly hold the prized deal aloft in coming days as he seeks to convince his counterparts to pursue ambitious and complex regional free trade pacts.

The prime minister will be pushing for an 11-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership to be sealed at APEC, after America bowed out.

"That would bring together economies with a collective GDP of about $10 trillion. So that is a huge market," Mr Turnbull said.

"It is the equivalent of entering into, across the 11 TPP countries, 19 new free trade agreements."

He will also be hoping for progress on a fistful of other bilateral trade pacts and regional agreements.

The Peru deal will allow for 30,000 tonnes of Australian sugar to be exported duty free, with the amount set to double in five years and triple in 18 years.

Officials say the agreement - considered relatively modest by cane growers - is more than any other sugar exporter has achieved in the past 20 years.

Australian beef farmers will have tariff-free access within five years, putting them on par with US producers, with Peru forecast to triple its beef consumption by 2020.

Tariffs on a range of Australian produce will be scrapped and dairy, rice and sorghum farmers given greater access to Peru.

Peruvian students will also be able to attend Australian universities and have their degrees recognised back home.

Australia and Peru will seek approval from their respective parliaments before the agreement is set in stone.

Mr Turnbull will spend two days in Vietnam before flying to Hong Kong and Manila in the Philippines.

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