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

by Abel Hampton November 13, 2017, 0:26
TPP back on with new name, Canada apparently back on board

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) may not be dead in the water just yet, with Canada's trade minister denying that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau deliberately skipped a leaders' meeting in Vietnam.

While the TPP-11 accord was not endorsed by the top leadership of the countries as expected, the ministers said the new name reflects a focus on inclusive growth, the ministers said after a two-day meeting in the central city of Da Nang.

A spokeswoman said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the meeting's chair, cancelled the event after a 50-minute face-to-face discussion with Trudeau.

Now all negotiators, including Canada, say it's "on again", issuing a statement they have agreed to continue negotiating and an agreement on "core elements" had been reached in another meeting later on Friday. Trump has said he prefers country-to-country deals and is seeking to renegotiate several major trade agreements, including the North American Free Trade Agreement.

According to a statement issued by the Minister of International Trade and Industry on Saturday, the 11 members of the partnership have agreed on the text of the CPTPP agreement but a number of issues remain to be finalised before the signing of the deal.

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.

"Clearly we were expecting to have 11 nations represented around the table but one didn't show up so we were disappointed", he said.

"This is already a very, very fast process considering how complicated the agreement is and the fundamental change with the US withdrawing makes to the geometry of that agreement".

"The TPP is only marginally about trade", says Larry Brown.

Talks - often heated - have been held on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in the Vietnamese resort of Danang, where Trump and other leaders held their main meeting on Saturday.

But we also strongly assert that Canada should never have gotten to this point, and should now withdraw from the TPP-11 talks once and for all.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has been resurrected as the Comprehensive and Progressive TPP (CPTPP) minus 20 provisions, including those in the intellectual property segment, specifically biologics, patent term adjustment and copyrights, which are of particular interest to Malaysia.

"We weren't ready to close it yesterday", Trudeau told reporters at the closing news conference for the APEC summit in Vietnam.

In a speech in Danang, Trump sent out a strong message that he was only interested in bilateral deals in Asia that would not disadvantage the United States. China is not part of the TPP.

Among the most sensitive for Canada is understood to be protection for automobile production, while Viet Nam has been resistant to the pact's insistence on minimum standards for labour and environmental practices.

"The Canadian prime minister is clearly equivocating and that is deeply is the position that the United States took under President Trump". It cut into the planned TPP leaders' meeting and kept the other leaders waiting for them in the room.

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.

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