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Japanese minister says all TPP countries now agree on trade pact

13 November 2017
Japanese minister says all TPP countries now agree on trade pact

Canada and the 10 other Trans-Pacific Partnership countries reached an agreement on Friday on "core elements" of the free trade pact, pledging to adhere to strict labour and environment standards, hours after the talks almost collapsed earlier in the day.

But Trudeau said there is still much "important work to be done", namely on the creation of a gender rights chapter, changes around rules of origin - a part of the deal with particular salience to the auto parts sector - and issues surrounding Canada's protection and promotion of culture.

Japan had lobbied hard to proceed with a pact that could also help to contain China's growing regional dominance, ahead of talks in the Vietnamese resort of Danang this week alongside Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings.

"We have confirmed there was no mistake about us having reached a basic agreement", Motegi said.

"It now makes sense to step back, evaluate Canada's long-term offensive and defensive interests and adjust the TPP to present-day realities".

"It should come as no surprise and it actually didn't come as a surprise to people who'd noticed that I was saying that and have been saying that all week".

"Another consideration for Malaysia is the impact to our economy should we decide not to join the CPTPP, while the remaining 10 countries move ahead".

Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker said that on Thursday night it had appeared all Canada's issues had been resolved to its satisfaction.

A press conference was scheduled later on Saturday.

"Canadians have repeatedly expressed their opposition to the TPP, so the Prime Minister has no public mandate to support it", says Larry Brown, President of the National Union of Public and General Employees.

The cancellation set off a confusing day of talks.

After U.S. President Donald Trump pulled the world's biggest economy from the TPP, Japan had been eager to clinch an accord at the APEC summit, with the remaining 11 signatories sharing the goal of an early implementation of the pact.

The Canadian team had no plans to agree to the deal at Friday's TPP leaders' meeting unless the modifications were made.

The talks have been postponed indefinitely.

International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne quickly disputed the report.

Before Trudeau's no-show at the leaders' meeting, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said New Zealand had made good progress on contentious investor-state disputes resolution clauses and preserving market access.

The TPP, which would have covered 40 percent of the global economy, was thrown into disarray when Trump withdrew the USA in one of his first acts as president due to a perceived risk to United States jobs, leaving other countries scrambling to keep the deal alive.

A weaker TPP means lower leverage for the Japanese side in trade negotiations with the United States, political analysts said.

"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.

On Sunday, Trudeau will attend the ASEAN summit of 10 Southeast Asian leaders in Manila, hosted by President Rodgrigo Duterte, who has faced harsh global criticism for his human rights record.

From the outside, it looked like yet another bilateral meeting between Justin Trudeau and his continental ally, Enrique Pena Nieto, on the sidelines of yet another leaders' summit.

"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".