A $4.6 billion trade pact between the United States and Australia is the latest example of how President Donald Trump is moving to expand the economic ties between the two countries.
The agreement, signed Wednesday, includes a provision that would allow the United Nations to designate a portion of the land in Australia’s northern coastal region as a “contiguous marine sanctuary” to protect it from the potential impact of climate change.
The move comes as the Trump administration and Australia are seeking to forge a strong alliance against China.
Trump’s signature of the Pacific trade deal comes as his administration is pursuing a new Pacific deal with other nations including Japan, Vietnam, and Brunei.
The Pacific trade pact will provide the administration with an economic boost that it can use to renegotiate existing deals with other countries.
That’s important for the Trump White House, because it could be a boon to Trump’s domestic economic agenda.
The TPP deal was signed in 2015, and the U.S. has made the same push for the deal’s inclusion in the new deal.
Australia and other countries have criticized the deal for its low standards for environmental protections, but the administration says it will give countries more freedom to regulate.
The new agreement, which also includes Australia’s “no-fly” zone, is expected to open up trade to more countries.
Trump signed the trade deal Wednesday and told reporters that it was “historic.”
“We’re going to be getting more and more countries, even other countries, that want to get into it, even though we’re not going to get much,” he said.
Trump has long touted the trade deals, which have been championed by Trump’s business magnate, Steve Bannon, and by the far-right Australian National Party.
Bannon has been one of the leaders of the populist right-wing Breitbart News, which has become a frequent target of the administration.
The Trump administration has sought to position itself as an ally of Australia.
Earlier this month, the White House signed an executive order that would make it easier for the administration to waive tariffs on certain goods from Australian firms.