TPP trade deal talks reach critical point at Asia-Pacific summit

President Tran Dai Quang receives Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Font Size

President Tran Dai Quang receives Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Font Size

Talks on pushing ahead the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal without the United States reached a critical point today as ministers from the 11 countries discussed a proposed agreement in principle.

Abe made the comments Friday after meeting with his Canadian counterpart, Justin Trudeau, in Danang, Vietnam, on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

However, there is more work to be done before a final agreement in principle is ironed out as 11 Pacific nations seek to salvage a trade deal, which almost sank after President Donald Trump bailed the United States out of the original 12-nation accord, covering 40 per cent of the world's economy.

Reuters is reporting this morning that the 11 nations working on the new version of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact have agreed to the core elements of a deal but more work needs to be done.

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There was no immediate word on Canada's stance.

It came just hours after the Canadians were accused of blocking an agreement earlier in the day. However, Francois-Philippe Champagne, Canada's trade minister, turned to social media to declare that an agreement had yet to be concluded.

Partly to counter China's growing dominance in Asia, Japan had been lobbying hard for the TPP pact, which aims to eliminate tariffs on industrial and farm products across the 11-nation bloc whose trade totalled $356 billion a year ago.

Canada, which has the second biggest economy among remaining TPP countries after Japan, had said it wanted to ensure an agreement that would protect jobs.

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It has been reported the no-show was a scheduling misunderstanding.

The positions of both Canada and Mexico are also complicated by the fact that they are renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) with the Trump administration.

APEC, whose leaders hold their full summit on Saturday, has itself been buffeted by the changes under Trump.

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