TPP talks to continue in APEC Summit

Lester Mason
November 12, 2017

"We have reached an agreement on a number of fundamental parts", Vietnam's trade minister, Tran Tuan Anh, told reporters in the coastal resort city of Danang, on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

After the meeting, Trudeau and Abe were supposed to walk a short distance to a scheduled TPP leaders' meeting.

However, the Prime Minister's Office insisted that Canada was not the only country to raise concerns. The ministers also said they would work to improve the functioning of the World Trade Organisation - which Trump criticised in Friday's speech.

A report in Australia's Sydney Morning Herald said Trudeau "sabotaged" the talks at the last minute by failing to show up for the meeting.

It has been reported the no-show was a scheduling misunderstanding.

The proposed basic agreement reached in Danang said that the ministers maintained "the high standards, overall balance and integrity of the TPP while ensuring the commercial and other interests of all participants and preserving our inherent right to regulate, including the flexibility of the parties to set legislative and regulatory priorities".

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

"A TPP without the United States is a very different entity, as it is now without Canada", he said.

Ardern said she could not give a clear indication of Canada's final position because they were not at the table to explain it.

It seems the TPP trade deal is not sunk yet.

Mexico had been sending similar signals of restraint about signing on to a new TPP.

Over the past week as talk of some kind of deal grew louder, senior officials and Trudeau alike have talked about wanting to roll back concessions made during the broader TPP talks when the United States was still involved.

At the same time, Canada has been pushing to add new elements to the revised TPP, including provisions for gender, environment and labour. We continue to seek similar agreements with the other countries in this new Agreement.

However, there is more work to be done before a final agreement in principle is ironed out as 11 Pacific nations seek to salvage a trade deal, which almost sank after President Donald Trump bailed the United States out of the original 12-nation accord, covering 40 per cent of the world's economy.

Pacific nations are scrambling to agree on how to salvage a blockbuster trade pact after days of talks in Vietnam, with Australia confident of an outcome but Canada warning it wants a good deal over a fast one.

Shortly after Pena Nieto left, Trudeau held his next bilateral of the day in the very same room - this time with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

It appeared to get off to a chilly start.

Reuters said a statement was due to be made today, and it marked "a successful conclusion to talks in Vietnam", which at one stage had looked headed for failure amid resistance by Canada.

Champagne said the TPP partners also established a framework to deal with rules of origin issues related to the auto sector and on how the countries will proceed with including cultural exemptions into the treaty.

International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne quickly disputed it.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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