Vietnam says fundamental deal reached on trade

Monday, 13 Nov, 2017

Revisions of the deal to allow the remaining 11 countries to proceed without USA involvement involved a hard balance between maintaining high standards and pragmatism, Japanese economy minister Toshimitsu Motegi said after late-night talks culminated in a preliminary agreement.

Abe told Peru's President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski that he welcomed a broad agreement reached at the TPP ministerial meeting, a written statement by the Japanese government said on Friday.

Canadian Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne later blamed "a misunderstanding about the schedule" for Trudeau's absence, but said more work was needed to take TPP forward - specifically mentioning the auto sector and cultural protection.

Canada's foreign affairs minister said Ottawa is still at the TPP negotiating table and it doesn't want to rush on such a complex deal. 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.

Ministerial talks on a communique for the APEC leaders were extended into a second day on Thursday in the face of US demands for changes to the language used concerning issues such as free trade and protectionism, officials at the talks said.

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

Mr Turnbull said he later had a "very good and frank discussion" with Mr Trudeau during which he stood up for Australia's interests.

The decision comes after days of tense negotiations on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam.

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.

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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.

The TPP aims to eliminate tariffs on industrial and farm products across a bloc whose trade totalled $356 billion previous year.

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...

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.

As an institution, apart from its pageantry and its tradition of drawing leaders together for face-to-face meetings, APEC mainly serves as a laboratory for trying out policies and encouraging "best practices", said Alan Bollard, executive director for APEC's secretariat.

She was also set to meet him at an Apec dinner later on Friday, and on Saturday in Vietnam.

China's President Xi Jinping, meanwhile, used the same forum to stress multilateralism and said that globalization is an irreversible trend.

"The fact that worldwide meetings were held continuously in a very short time is unprecedented, it did not happen even during the earlier negotiation period", Motegi said. The official disputes the notion it was a snub because the leaders would mingle at APEC events over the next 24 hours anyway.