Canada's Trudeau says still more work to be done on TPP

Trudeau Vietnam 20171109

The announcement of a basic agreement was delayed by last-minute discord that prevented the TPP leaders from endorsing the plan when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not join other leaders who gathered Friday to endorse an agreement in principle on pressing ahead without the U.S.

TPP trade ministers had agreed to a number of key changes to nudge negotiations closer to a deal and he said Canada would be better off because of them. The ministers also said they would work to improve the functioning of the World Trade Organisation - which Trump criticised in Friday's speech.

The dramas over Canada are not related to the weird events of last night in which the TPP deal was declared done by trade ministers, including Canada's Trade Minister, but Vietnam then objected to a particular issue.

The agreement follows days of uncertainty over whether the countries would be able to agree on the terms of the deal, after U.S. President Donald Trump ditched it this year in favor of an "America First" policy.

Japan had hoped that the leaders of the TPP countries would back the deal on the sidelines of the APEC Leaders'Week, but Canada's unexpected move led to the cancellation of the leaders' meeting set for Friday afternoon.

"This is subtly sending a message to the U.S. that Canada is not going to be agreeable to reaching any trade deal and Canada will be making its own tough negotiating stance".

"I'm not going to speculate on what other countries might say", Chrystia Freeland said when asked about the allegations that Canada is holding up the TPP. He also says the ministers changed the name of the Trans-Pacific Partnership to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Ardern has a one-on-one meeting scheduled with Trudeau at the East Asia Summit in Manila, in the Philippines, starting on Sunday.

As regular readers will know, MB's biggest concerns around the original TPP were that it would have extended patent and copyright protections, as well as instituted an Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provision, which would have opened the door to multinational companies suing the Australian Government for implementing rules against their interests (e.g. on environmental, health and safety grounds).

Ardern said CPTPP was "a different deal than what was being negotiated at the time that the United States were at the table ... not least because there have been some suspended clauses which were important to NZ in particular".

The Trudeau government had previously never fully committed to the TPP, and spent months consulting the public on the agreement. At the same time, Canada warned there was more work ahead.

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.

Zhang said the Beijing-backed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade pact will not be impacted by TPP, to which China is not party.

At this stage there's no meeting of all 11 leaders planned for Saturday.

APEC trade and foreign ministers separately ended a meeting on Thursday with a "very good outcome", despite differing views on trade and protectionism, Vietnamese Trade Minister Tran Tuan Anh said.

Later, leaders of the 21 Apec economies agreed to address "unfair trade practices" and called for the removal of "market distorting subsidies", in contrast to communiques they have issued in the past.

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