TPP trade deal to continue without U.S.

May 22 , 2017

Asia-Pacific trade ministers met in Vietnam over the weekend with the aim of resurrecting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, despite U.S. President Donald Trump abandoning it in January. 

Trade ministers from the remaining 11 countries met to get the deal back on track, and also agreed to help the U.S. rejoin the deal at any time.

Trump withdrew from the deal which would have broadened tariff-free arrangements, but he has said a better deal for U.S. businesses can be secured through bilateral deals.

Many believed the U.S. withdrawing from the deal would effectively leave it dead in the water.

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, according to the BBC

New Zealand trade minister Todd McClay was quoted as saying the remaining countries “are committed to finding a way forward to deliver” the deal.

Other countries involved in the deal are Canada, Singapore, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.

The representatives reportedly agreed to complete preparatory work by November to put the free trade pact quickly into force.

Although the door will be kept open for the U.S. to rejoin the pact, its trade representative Robert Lighthizer reportedly said it would not return to the TPP.

“The United States pulled out of the TPP and it’s not going to change that decision,” he was quoted as saying.

“The president made a decision, that I certainly agree with, that bilateral negotiations are better for the United States than multilateral negotiations.”

On Sunday website Bloomberg reported there had been a split between Malaysia and New Zealand over reworking the TPP without the U.S.

New Zealand’s top trade official said his country wouldn’t gain much from major changes, highlighting obstacles to finalizing the deal without the U.S. after Malaysia called for more negotiations.

“New Zealand believes that the agreement is very well balanced and needs little renegotiation perhaps other than the way it enters into force,” McClay was quoted as saying.

“I don’t see that renegotiation would be helpful for us.”

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