FW: FOREIGN POOL REPORT: VISIT OF AUSTRALIAN PM

-----Original Message-----
From: Jessica Stone [mailto:xxx@email.com]
Sent: Tuesday, January 19, 2016 11:56 AM
To: Allen, Jessica L. EOP/WHO
Subject: FOREIGN POOL REPORT: VISIT OF AUSTRALIAN PM

Pool allowed in at 11:20
Obama's remarks: 6 minutes
ushered out at 11:35

Your pooler notes that Australian trade officials were in the oval as well as USTR Mike Froman, Asst. Secretary Danny Russell, East Asian Affairs.

During almost 15 minutes of remarks before their oval office meeting, both leaders emphasized the strong alliance, the TPP and the anti-ISIL effort they both share in.

Obama says the US "rebalance" to Asia has been effective in part thanks to the alliance with Australia.  He says the nations "work to affirm international order, rules of the road with respect to issues like maritime law," a reference to the concerns in the region around competing territorial claims in the Western Pacific.

Australia's contribution to the 60 member anti-ISIL coalition is second only to the United States.  But recently when asked to commit more ground troops to the anti-ISIL effort, Turnbull demurred.  Yesterday at a CSIS event, he told the audience that "the right boots" must be on the ground.  In the oval office, he thanked Obama for a "very good discussion" with the (US) "intelligence community" which he said is very important in the fight against extremism and in particular ISIL.

Obama thanked Australia for its support for the efforts in both Afghanistan and Iraq, and said the two would discuss how "we can strengthen our cooperation in both Syria and Iraq and Afghanistan and also countering violent extremism globally."

Australia and the U.S. are both part of the 12 nation trans-pacific partnership trade agreement.  The World Bank recently assessed that the agreement has little economic benefit for Australia or the United States.  While President Barack Obama asked the U.S. Congress to pass the agreement before the end of his presidency, Turnbull also faces an uphill climb back home to get the agreement passed.

Over the summer, the Foreign Affairs, Defense and Trade References committees of the parliament released a report called, "The Blind Agreement" which according to the EU Times, said "This does not provide an adequate level of oversight and scrutiny....Parliament should play a constructive role during negotiations and not merely rubber-stamp agreements that have been negotiated behind closed doors."

But Turnbull made a point to tell Obama that he had asked those at the US Chamber of Commerce this morning to lobby their members of congress to pass the trade pact.  Turnbull said the TPP "is much more than a trade deal," saying the "critical thing is the way it promotes the continued integration of those economies because that is as important an element in our security in the maintenance of the values that both our countries share as all of our efforts."

Obama said the TPP "is going to be good for our economy. It's going to be good for our workers and our businesses and it reaffirms that in order for us to thrive in the 21st century, particularly economies that are respectful of rule of law and concerned about labor rights and environmental rights, it's important for us to be making the rules in this region and that's exactly what TPP does."

Turnbull also congratulated Obama on the completion of the Iran nuclear deal calling it "a formidable effort" and a "great example of leadership."

This is the Malcolm Turnbull's first trip to the White House as prime minister, but he is no stranger to Washington, having served as a journalist, former managing director of Goldman Sachs Australia and parent to a son studying at Harvard College.

JESSICA STONE | WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT I
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