Pacific Trade Deal Goes Forward Without United States

The representatives of the 11 Asia-Pacific countries, including Japan, Australia, Canada, Malaysia and Mexico, have agreed to push ahead toward the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The ministers also said they would work to improve the functioning of the World Trade Organisation - which Trump criticised in Friday's speech.

Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Trudeau said though Canada was pleased with the progress made on TPP, there was "still more important work to be done". After some disagreements between the two during the tête-à-tête, Abe told the other waiting leaders that the meeting was off, and Trudeau went on to meet with Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg.

The spat highlighted the continuing challenge to reviving a pact whose survival was thrown into doubt when President Donald Trump ditched it, in one of his first acts in office, in favor of bilateral dealmaking.

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.

They also changed the trade accord's name to the unwieldy Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

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The TPP was an attempt to give a practical trade expression to the original aspirations of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, Mr Marles said.

"The primary reason is that Canada is in a hard situation trying to balance the interests of the TPP, which has Mexico as a party, but also keep alive the North American Free Trade Agreement", Professor Rothwell said.

The agreement, which still needs to be finalised, would now be called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), he said.

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).

Earlier, Mr Trump effectively slammed the door shut on any hope of America rejoining the TPP negotiations during his address to the APEC summit.

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Without the United States, the 11-party TPP's share of world gross domestic product drops to 13 percent, but trade experts say the deal would still create a free trade area with a high-standard of market liberalisation. Canada's trade minister later blamed Trudeau's absence on "a misunderstanding about the schedule".

"We will work through this and we have, of course, additional opportunities in the future for us to reconvene to keep working through these issues, and hopefully we will be able to find a pathway forward that accommodates the requests from Canada". China is not part of the TPP.

Canada's position has been further complicated by the fact that it is simultaneously renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) with the Trump administration.

At this stage there's no meeting of all 11 leaders planned for Saturday. The official disputes the notion it was a snub because the leaders would mingle at APEC events over the next 24 hours anyway.

"We have witnessed changes more rapid and complex than we expect", he said in opening remarks.

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