Scott Morrison
Australia's Immigration Minister Scott Morrison smiles during an interview with Reuters in Phnom Penh September 26, 2014. Reuters/Samrang Pring

An “Australia first” trade policy has been devised by Treasurer Scott Morrison. This comes on the heels of the departure of United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Morrison said that Australia will continue its free trade agreements. He added that walking away from new opportunities in the Asian markets will not be in the national interest.

Speaking with Bloomberg, Morrison referred to Australia as a “trading nation.” He added that the Australia first policy “does embrace trade and foreign investment and all of these things, so our economic interests are very much aligned with that approach.” He highlighted that the decision of US President Donald Trump withdrawing from the TPP, a deal between 12 nations that aims to enhance trade between the US and Pacific Rim nations, was not unforeseen. "There's still a lot that can be gained, and we intend to continue to pursue that, where those opportunities persist and where there is potential for other partners to step into this," he said.

Trump’s decision to leave the TPP came as a significant blow to Australia. Morrison said that Australia will continue with the agreement. He also said Australia will look to reach out to the UK concerning a trade pact.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Trade Minister Steve Ciobo have opined that there is scope for Australia to continue with the deal with the rest of the TPP countries. In contrast, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the government was unwilling to admit that TPP was dead. According to Japan Times, Japanese Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Koichi Hagiuda said a trade deal without the United States is “meaningless.” A similar sentiment was expressed by Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.

In the third quarter, Australia’s economy suffered a slump of 0.5 percent. It is the first contraction in more than five years. Morrison is optimistic that the data will improve for the December quarter, referring to the recent decline as a “surprise result.” He added, “When you look at our forecasts, over the short to medium term, then we expect to see our growth performance pick up where it left off.”