TPP back on with new name, Canada apparently back on board

Michele Moreno
November 13, 2017

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not show up at meeting after holding talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday.

Mexico's trade minister said on Thursday the TPP countries had reached agreement in talks, but he gave no details and said there would be an announcement on Friday.

While some countries might be eager for a deal, notably Australia, New Zealand and Japan - their respective national news outlets quoted government sources expressing disappointment at Trudeau supposedly "screwing" and "sabotaging" a final agreement by being a no-show - Trudeau said they should never have expected to leave Vietnam with an agreement in hand.

The dramas over Canada are not related to the freaky events of last night in which the TPP deal was declared done by trade ministers, including Canada's Trade Minister, but Vietnam then objected to a particular issue.

One of Mr Trump's first official acts after inauguration was to formally withdraw from negotiations on the partnership, citing it as an example of "trade deals that put the interests of insiders and the Washington elite over the hard-working men and women of this country".

The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks took a freakish twist Friday when it was announced that the 11 countries had reached an agreement.

The ministers have assigned chief negotiators to continue to work on contentious technical issues and conduct legal reviews in preparation for the signing of the pact, Anh said.

Trade ministers including David Parker held emergency talks in Da Nang, Vietnam on Friday night while leaders were at the APEC Summit gala dinner.

A trade pact between Australia and 10 other nations has been salvaged, with Canada returning to the negotiating table after boycotting talks at the last minute. "So it's time for the Trudeau government to stand up for Canadians and stand against the Trans-Pacific Partnership".

Canada, which has the second-biggest economy among remaining TPP countries after Japan, had said it wanted to ensure an agreement that would protect jobs.

It said a "limited set of provisions" from the original deal would be suspended.

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 a year ago.

The TPP member countries are trying to find a way forward without the US, the biggest economy and, before Trump took office, one of its most assertive supporters.

"The scheduled meeting with Prime Minister Abe ... went long, we obviously had a lot to talk about, and at the end of the meeting it became clear it was in everyone's interest to postpone the meeting on TPP11", Trudeau said as an explanation. China is not part of the TPP.

The Apec leaders met in closed sessions on Saturday, pausing for the traditional "family photograph", taken above the South China Sea.

Later, leaders of the 21 Apec economies agreed to address "unfair trade practices" and called for the removal of "market distorting subsidies", in contrast to communiques they have issued in the past.

Junichi Sugawara, a trade policy expert at the Mizuho Research Institute, said, "Realistically speaking, I think it will be quite hard for Japan to fend off requests to start negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement, although it depends on how hard the United States pushes".

Other reports by Insurance News

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