“The finance minister is optimistic that Congress will ratify the TPP during the ‘lame duck,'” Turnbull later told reporters at the New York Stock Exchange, referring to the time between the November and January elections.
“But it’s obviously still to be seen.”
Mr Turnbull said he had told him that TPP was more than just economics or trade.
“This is a statement of America’s commitment to the region,” he said.
Both presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton oppose the trade deal, which means its chances of adoption after January are almost slim.
“If the TPP is not ratified during the ‘lame duck’ period, the general opinion in Washington is that it is less likely to be ratified later,” Mr Turnbull said.
“We will continue to insist on ratification, but often, as you know, when you make predictions in politics, you may be disappointed.”
He reiterated that protectionism is not a ladder to get out of the trap of short stature, it is a shovel to dig it deeper.
Leaders need to explain how important it is for economic growth and jobs to maintain a commitment to free trade.
“We know where protectionism will take you,” he said.
“Protectionism doesn’t protect anyone … It’s a road to poverty.”
The Prime Minister said that calls for protectionism in Australia are not as loud as in other markets.
“I think Australians understand how important trade has been,” he said.
Mr Turnbull and Mr Lew also agreed that the Australian economy had warned of hard landing forecasts and was doing well, while the US economy remained strong.
He was also scheduled to meet with former New York City mayor and businessman Michael Bloomberg on Monday afternoon.