TPP Chief Negotiators Fail To Agree On Trade Deal Without US

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Pic: BernamaPic: Bernama

DANANG: Chief negotiators from the remaining 11 Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP-11) countries including Malaysia met until midnight yesterday, hoping to agree on proceeding with the trade deal without the US.

They failed to find it after two days of deliberation in the coastal city.

That mission now rests on the TPP-11 trade ministers in their meeting today ahead of the two-day Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation’s leaders summit here from Friday.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said if the meeting were to fail too, they would turn to their prime ministers and presidents for “guidance”.

A meeting of TPP leaders has been tentatively scheduled on the sidelines of the summit.

Mustapa said it was difficult to find the agreement as some countries “were not comfortable” with globalisation and multilateral free trade agreement (FTA) after the US had ditched the TPP.

“Previously, all participating countries spoke in one voice. Now we have different views although the situation is far from tense,” he told the Malaysian media last night.

“We are still struggling to come to an agreement,” he added.

The TPP-11 trade ministers had agreed to move ahead without the US at a meeting in Vietnam in May, but asked their negotiators to look at what might need changing ahead of the meeting here.

The pact aims to eliminate tariffs on industrial and farm products across a bloc whose trade totalled US$356 billion last year. It also has provisions for protecting everything from intellectual property to labour rights to the environment.

For Malaysia, the main benefit of joining the TPP was the removal of tariffs on exports to the US. The deal also will give it access to free trade with Canada, Mexico and Peru, three nations Malaysia has no FTA currently.

- Bernama