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Asia-Pacific Trade Ministers Agree TPP-Replacement Deal Without US

Sat, 11th Nov 2017 10:12

DA NANG (Alliance News) - "Core elements" of a revised Transpacific Partnership have been agreed by the remaining TPP nations, Vietnam's trade Minister said at the APEC conference in Da Nang on Saturday.

At a press briefing in Da Nang, where the 11 nations met on the sidelines of the APEC summit, Vietnamese trade minister Tran Tuan Anh announced that the new agreement, which has not yet been finalised, would be called the Comprehensive & Progressive Transpacific Partnership or CPTPP.

"We have agreed many important issues for the past round of negotiation and reached an agreement to maintain to TPP, but with a new name," said Anh.  

"The new agreement will keep all the content of TPP, but allows membership countries temporarily delayed some obligations to ensure balance in the new context," he said, adding negotiators will need to review before officially signing it.

"The new agreement will suspend 20 articles of the original TPP agreement, of which 10 are related to intellectual property," Japanese Trade Minister Toshimitsu Motegi who co-chaired the press briefing said.  

"Many countries have proposed more delays, but too much will affect the deal, so we agreed to a list of limited terms," he added, explaining the difficulty of negotiating.

Japanese Trade Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said the ministers would issue a joint statement, including one with seven articles on the technical aspects of the new agreement. 

Motegi, told reporters late Thursday night that the negotiators had reached a "ministerial agreement" in principle.

But shortly after Motegi's announcement, Canadian foreign trade minister Francois-Philippe Champagne took to Twitter to dispute news reports that an agreement had been finalised, saying "there is no agreement in principle on TPP". 

Negotiations were further thrown into doubt when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau failed to show up at a planned Friday night talks among heads of government.

Ministers from 11 TPP signatories have been meeting in recent days to discuss the treaty's future, which was thrown into doubt earlier this year when the US disengaged from it shortly after the inauguration of US President Donald Trump. 

The deal, which was spearheaded by former US president Barack Obama, would slash tariffs throughout the Pacific region, but Trump has expressed a preference for bilateral trade agreements.

The remaining potential TPP members are Japan, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

By Bac Pham, dpa

Copyright dpa

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