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Trump's treasury pick has links to Packer


Donald Trump’s pick for US Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin is a staunch opponent of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and was a key player in James Packer’s $US300 million ($A406 million) ($A406 million) foray into Hollywood.

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Mnuchin, who will play a lead role in Mr Trump’s economic policy and pursuit of new foreign trade deals in the absence of US involvement in the TPP, is a 53-year-old former Goldman Sachs banker with no government experience.

“Absolutely,” Mnuchin replied, when asked on CNBC on Wednesday if the proposed TPP between the US, Australia and 10 other nations was a bad deal.

With Trump vowing to kill US involvement in the TPP as soon as he replaces Barack Obama as president in January, Mr Mnuchin said he will seek better trade deals for the US with foreign nations.

Instead of mega TPP-style pacts, Mnuchin is aligned with Trump’s view of America negotiating one-on-one deals.

“We believe in bilateral negotiations,” Mnuchin said.

“And we will have very good deals with lots of countries.”

Mnuchin’s hedge fund Dune Capital joined forces in 2013 with RatPac Entertainment, the film finance and production partnership headed by Australian billionaire Packer and heavyweight Hollywood director and producer Brett Ratner.

The joint venture, RatPac-Dune entered into a multi-year agreement to co-finance as many as 75 films from Hollywood studio Warner Bros.

The collaboration, built on a $US300 million ($A406 million) credit facility, immediately hit success with the Sandra Bullock, George Clooney space thriller Gravity earning almost $US600 million ($A812 million) at the global office and dominating the 2014 Academy Awards with eight Oscar wins, including directing for Alfonso Cuaron and best picture.

RatPac-Dune’s film slate since has included hits and misses, with Mad Max: Fury Road, American Sniper, The Lego Movie, Black Mass, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, San Andreas and Pan on their slate.

Mnuchin was the national finance chairman during Trump’s successful presidential campaign.

In other comments that will likely impact Australian financial markets and government policy, Mnuchin predicted US interest rates will “stay relatively low for the next couple of years”.

“Interest rates have come up a little bit, which I think makes sense,” he said.

“I think we’re going to be looking at the Treasury all different types of opportunities.

“We will look at potentially extending the maturity of the debt because eventually we are going to have higher interest rates, and that is something this country is going to need to deal with.”


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