TPP trade deal talks move forward despite Canada wobble
Eleven Pacific rim nations including Canada are moving ahead with talks for a resuscitated Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.
The fate of the talks was briefly up in the air after Canada was accused of getting cold feet at the last minute and stalling an agreement.
Leaders from Asia-Pacific nations are meeting in Vietnam to push ahead with the massive trade deal without the US.
Canada’s trade minister now says good progress has been made on a deal.
François-Philippe Champagne also denied that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had deliberately skipped a leaders’ meeting on the TPP on Friday and blamed his no-show on a scheduling mix-up.
“There was never an intention not to show up at any meeting,” he said.
Mr Champagne said Canada wanted more time to look over certain provisions in the agreement, including those related to the auto sector.
Mr Trudeau said earlier in the week that Canada would not be rushed into a renewed TPP deal.
As reported by Reuters, Mr Abe told journalists on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit that a broad agreement appeared to have been reached among the 11 nations involved in renewed TPP talks on Thursday.
The leaders of 10 of the countries arrived for a meeting on the talks on Friday but reports say it was cancelled after Mr Trudeau, who was in last minute bilateral talks with Mr Abe, failed to attend.
Mr Abe said that all the other leaders except Mr Trudeau had been ready to confirm the ministerial-level agreement to move forward with the trade deal without the US.
Canadian officials said Canada was not the only country that wanted more time to work through the agreement.
Efforts to resuscitate the TPP trade deal include Canada, Australia, Chile, New Zealand, Brunei, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru and Vietnam.
President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the original 12-nation TPP agreement in January.
The bid to revive the TPP, which would have covered 40% of the global economy, was led by trade ministers from Japan, Australia and New Zealand.