TPP deal advances without US

13 November, 2017, 00:26 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • NA Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan receives Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.¬†Font Size

Countries in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) have agreed on steps to move ahead with the trade deal despite resistance from Canada at talks in Vietnam that had put new doubts over its survival, officials said.

Japanese Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said he hoped that moving ahead with the deal would be a step towards bringing back the United States.

Instead they found Japan's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, holding crisis meetings with Canada's Justin Trudeau over an undisclosed issue.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she doesn't want to speculate but the deal appears to be in a much more stable place than it was on Friday afternoon when Canada withdraw from talks without explanation.

"While we understand difficult negotiations on a number of sensitive issues remain, we are optimistic that with good will and hard work trade negotiators will bridge the remaining gaps so that high-value Canadian agri-food exporters, including Canadian Spirits manufacturers, will soon be able to benefit from important new market access opportunities", said Jan Westcott, President & CEO of Spirits Canada.

The TPP leaders called off at the last minute a meeting to endorse a plan on Friday.

Taking the agreement forward is a boost for the principle of multilateral trade pacts after US President Donald Trump ditched the TPP early this year in favour of an "America First" policy he believes would save US jobs.

They also changed the trade accord's name to the unwieldy Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. The talks were "very productive, ' but more discussion was needed, Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo was reported to have said on Thursday".


The 11 countries' ministers had agreed to sign off on a "substantial conclusion" to salvage the deal on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Cooperation summit in Vietnam on Friday evening.

Indeed, since his arrival in Vietnam, Trudeau has said he wouldn't cave to "pressure" from others, telegraphing that Canada did not have its pen in hand heading into Danang, the site of the APEC conference.

Partly to counter China's growing dominance in Asia, Japan had been lobbying hard for the TPP pact, which aims to eliminate tariffs on industrial and farm products across the 11-nation bloc whose trade totalled $356 billion previous year.

As regular readers will know, MB's biggest concerns around the original TPP were that it would have extended patent and copyright protections, as well as instituted an Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provision, which would have opened the door to multinational companies suing the Australian Government for implementing rules against their interests (e.g. on environmental, health and safety grounds).

Japan and Vietnam are expected to make statements later on Saturday which Mr Parker said would outline those areas. The official said the changes didn't come until after Canada informed the group it wasn't going to agree to the deal without them. China is not part of the TPP.

At this stage there's no meeting of all 11 leaders planned for Saturday.

On Sunday, Trudeau will attend the ASEAN summit of 10 Southeast Asian leaders in Manila, hosted by President Rodgrigo Duterte, who has faced harsh global criticism for his human rights record.

"The reality is that showing we are in the process of diversifying our economic interests helps us in the NAFTA negotiations", he said.

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