Malaysia says renegotiation of TPP needed if it proceeds without US

Ministers of 11 TPP member countries to meet in Hanoi

Ministers of 11 TPP member countries to meet in Hanoi

A TPP-11 could become reality if the remaining TPP members create a separate agreement that migrates all the TPP commitments to the new one, and leaves the door open for other willing countries to join, Solís said.

Several remaining members have championed its revival, namely New Zealand and Japan, the only two countries that have formally ratified the deal.

"The big announcement if it all holds together will be that there will be agreement to move forward as TPP 11", the source said. "To bear in mind an environment where a signatory country can return", one source close to the discussions said. The agreement is due to take effect next year.

Vietnam would want to renegotiate requirements in areas like labor reform and intellectual property rights if it were to continue without US participation, said one Vietnamese official who declined to be identified.

Mustapa said there was optimism the United States would return one day, because Trump had shown readiness to shift his position on other matters, such as softening his stance towards China.

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The United States withdrew from the deal in January, immediately after the inauguration of President Donald Trump, who had promised to pull the United States out of what he called a "job-killing" free trade agreement during the election campaign.

"There has been less rhetoric and a more realistic approach", he said.

Asian governments are watching with some anxiety the fate of the North American Free Trade Agreement, as the Trump administration kicks off a review of the pact.

In Hanoi, Lighthizer is due to hold bilateral meetings to start making official contact with key trade officials.

The discussions were going on for an APEC meeting, which is the largest trade meeting since President of USA overturned the world order with his "America First" policy.

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Main countries are China, Japan and South Korea, with which Trump wants to renegotiate a free trade deal.

In other talks on the sidelines, China will be driving for progress on its favoured trade deal for Asia: the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

The free trade agreement doesn't cover as many areas as the TPP deal or demand tough conditions for members on issues such as protecting intellectual property, labor rights or the environment.

Australia and New Zealand have aligned with Japan, but Vietnam and Malaysia have suggested they disagree with Tokyo's proposal as they had hoped to take advantage of increased trade with the United States in order to expand their economies.

Progress on the TPP without the US would require significant revision of terms that at least six states, which together account for 85% of the combined gross domestic product of all original signatories, ratify it.

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Mustapa said Malaysia was less keen to continue, but added he would like some clarity on the USA position on the pact.

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