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TPP-11 reach in principle agreement

Released at: 09:11, 10/11/2017

TPP-11 reach in principle agreement

Illustrative image (Source: nld.com.vn)

Ministerial-level agreement reached among remaining members of TPP, with agreement from leaders to perhaps come today, November 10.

by Quang Huy

After months of negotiation, the remaining eleven members of the TPP have reached in principle agreement on the trade pact at the ministerial level; a decision that could shape the future of business in the Asia-Pacific region for years to come.

“The eleven nations were able to reach a ministerial agreement,” Japan’s Minister of Economy Toshimitsu Motegi told reporters after talks ended late on November 9 on the sidelines of the APEC meeting in Da Nang. Leaders of the eleven countries will look to officially agree on the pact on November 10.

The deal is a major achievement for the so-called “TPP-11”, who spent months trying to salvage the pact after the US pulled out when President Donald Trump took office. Just yesterday, during a press briefing in Hanoi, Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau said his government would not be too hasty in making a decision on the future of the TPP, while Malaysia’s Trade Minister Mustapa Mohamed said in an interview that “it is a common sense that a TPP with the US has more value than a TPP without the US.”

While it is true that without the US, the economic impact of the agreement will be much smaller - the TPP-11 only make up 13.5 per cent of the world’s GDP and 15.2 per cent of global trade, as opposed to 38.2 per cent and 26.5 per cent with the US - it is a statement of intent from the Asia-Pacific nations that multilateral trade is the future.

It will also give member nations a strong hand against the US as the world’s largest economy looks to draw favorable deals under bilateral trade agreements.

The original TPP talks began in 2010 with just eight nations - Australia, Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, and the US. Japan, Malaysia, Canada, and Mexico sought to join later.

The center of trade negotiations will now shift to Manila, where the 16 members of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will hold their 21st meeting.

While no agreement is likely to be reached in the talks, those supporting free trade hope that the successful conclusion of the TPP talks will pressure the less-enthusiastic members of the RCEP to accept implementing higher standards in the 16-country trade deal.

The RCEP is a mega trade and investment pact being negotiated by the ten members of ASEAN - Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Laos and Vietnam - and India, China, South Korea, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.

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