Malcolm Turnbull has enlisted key American political figures including the billionaire former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, in his charm offensive aimed at saving the giant Trans-Pacific Partnership trade liberalisation pact.
But he acknowledged that advocates of globalisation were in retreat, having often failed to make the benefits of free trade and foreign investment tangible for those communities most immediately affected by the "offshoring" of jobs.
Ahead of this week's United Nations General Assembly and a series of special summits on refugees and humanitarian issues, Mr Turnbull has continued to apply pressure on the US urging leaders to remember America's core values of free trade and economic openness rather than lurch back into dangerous protectionism.
Mr Turnbull said ratifying the TPP was about much more than economics and trade, calling it a "critically important political statement" and the economic dimension of the Obama administration's Asia-Pacific pivot.
"It is a statement of America's commitment to the region," he said.
He used part of a 30-minute briefing from US Treasury secretary Jack Lew on the outlook for the US and global economies, to press the American national interest of the TPP as the path to future growth and to extending its global strategic influence.
Sources close to Mr Turnbull said Mr Lew – an old colleague of Mr Turnbull's from their days at Goldman Sachs commercial bank - praised Australia's 3.3 per cent annual growth rate as he pressed for ratification during the so-called "lame duck" session of Congress. He said a vote after the November election but before the new president is inaugurated was possible because it remained the Obama administration's top legislative priority.
After touring the New York Stock Exchange and addressing media on the trading floor, Mr Turnbull also held one-on-one talks with prominent businessman, Michael Bloomberg.
Speaking ahead of those talks, the former New York mayor said there was no more important legislation to the US than passing the TPP.
Mr Bloomberg said America should go further still by inking similar agreements with the United Kingdom and the European Union.
"I don't think there's anything that is more important to this country in terms of legislation than passing TPP," the billionaire businessman said.
"It would be a terrible shame for America, which is my main interest, but also all of our partners, trading partners around the world."
Last Friday Mr Bloomberg had been among a group of politicians and business leaders invited to discuss the trade pact at the White House by President Barack Obama.
But the case is a tough one in an increasingly populist America which is in the grip of its most polarising election campaign in decades.
It would require for example an about-face by numerous US legislators on both sides, and would defy the stated preferences of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
And other influential lawmakers are also hostile to the pact, including key figures such as House Speaker Paul Ryan.
But Mr Turnbull said the "plan B" of pushing for ratification after the inauguration was even less likely to succeed.
"The Treasury secretary is optimistic that the Congress will ratify the TPP during the 'lame duck', but it obviously remains to be seen," he said.