TPP-11 reach agreement on "core elements" of a deal

Federated Farmers are amongst those praising the deal to come out of APEC

Federated Farmers are amongst those praising the deal to come out of APEC

Summit this past weekend, the TPP-11 announced that an agreement on the "core elements" had been reached, but that aspects of the agreement still needed to be finalized.

A news conference was scheduled for later Saturday morning Vietnam time. Motegi says that involved a hard balance between maintaining high standards and pragmatism.

Japan's delegate to the talks, Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, told reporters that disagreements that cropped up Friday had been resolved in five hours of talks that stretched late into the night.

"We won't have a conversation about where party support will fall, until we have a final agreement", she said.

Canada's interest in becoming a party to TPP-11 is also said to be contingent on several additional improvements including in relation to the auto sector (in view of the fact that US content may not count in the determination of TPP-11 origin requirements, with the USA being outside of the TPP), intellectual property rules, protection of supply management in certain agricultural sectors and Canada's cultural industries.

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

Trudeau said his unexpected absence from a TPP leaders' meeting on Friday, which caused consternation among his fellow leaders and confusion about Canada's stance, stemmed from an extra-long meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

So, basically, two of the three North America trade partners dared to take a stand. President Donald Trump warned he was going to walk away from TPP and he did.

The 11 countries remaining in the trade pact rejected by Mr Trump in January have been working to revise the deal to allow them to proceed without U.S. involvement.

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APEC has itself been buffeted by the changes under Trump. The clock is running down for US pork.

In contrast, the Chinese president, Xi Jinping spoke directly and stressed on how "openness brings progress".

The aim of the pact is to create an unprecedentedly expansive, multilateral free-trade agreement covering the entire Asia-Pacific region.

TPP took seven years to negotiate and was drafted in part to counter China's dominance in Asia.

APEC operates by consensus and customarily issues nonbinding statements.

But even talks this week on a declaration to cap the APEC summit had to be extended for an extra half day as ministers haggled over wording.

As a developing country with a fast-growing export sector, this year's host country, Vietnam, has a strong interest in open trade and access for its exports to consumers in the West. Danang, Vietnam's third largest city, is in the midst of a construction boom as dozens of resorts and smaller hotels pop up along its scenic coastline.

Speaking from the Philippines, Ms Ardern said, despite New Zealand First having Cabinet responsibility, it also has the ability to agree to disagree.

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