Pacific trade deal reached but leaders won't endorse it yet

Loading Green Party trade spokesperson Golriz Ghahraman

Loading Green Party trade spokesperson Golriz Ghahraman

Ministers said they have tasked officials with continuing their technical work, including continuing their efforts toward finalising those items on which consensus has not yet been achieved, as well as legal verification of the English text and translation to prepare the finalised text for signature.

In an effort to salvage a multilateral agreement championed under the Obama administration, the 11 countries made efforts to proceed with the core elections of the trans-pacific trade pact on Saturday.

The trade deal will now be called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) to reflect a focus on inclusive growth, the ministers said in a statement following two days of meetings in Danang, Vietnam. In this worldwide trade brief, we discuss the resurgence of the goal to renegotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership among the remaining 11 nations and the reaching of an agreement over the past weekend on the "core elements" of a deal.

Japan's delegate to the talks, Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, told reporters that disagreements that cropped up Friday had been resolved in five hours of talks that stretched late into the night. Japanese media reported that the Japanese and Vietnamese co-chairs of the ministerial meetings would hold a news conference Saturday on the sidelines of the summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, which wraps up later Saturday.

Instead they found Japan's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, holding crisis meetings with Canada's Justin Trudeau over an undisclosed issue.

Discussions would not continue without Canada, she said.

"We were not ready to close the TPP 11 yesterday", he said. Unlike the TPP trade pact, whose decisions will eventually be enforced, APEC's statements are nonbinding.

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On Friday, in his speech, the US president railed against worldwide trade deals, blaming them for America job losses and accusing Asian countries of ignoring them in "violations, cheating or economic aggression".

Trump feared the TPP trade deal would take jobs away from the USA, and wanted to focus on America First policies.

That involved a hard balance between maintaining high standards and pragmatism, Mr Motegi said.

In contrast, the Chinese president, Xi Jinping spoke directly and stressed on how "openness brings progress".

APEC has itself been buffeted by the changes under Trump. China is not part of the TPP.

As a developing country with a fast-growing export sector, this year's host country, Vietnam, has a strong interest in open trade and access for its exports to consumers in the West given the role foreign investment and trade have played in helping its economy to grow at a more than 6 percent pace.

Speaking from the Philippines, Ms Ardern said, despite New Zealand First having Cabinet responsibility, it also has the ability to agree to disagree.

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