TPP members to meet in Vietnam to discuss trade deal future without US

By VnExpress   May 3, 2017 | 03:43 pm GMT+7
TPP members to meet in Vietnam to discuss trade deal future without US
Women work at a garment factory in Hai Duong Province in northern Vietnam. Photo by Reuters

Signatory countries have been holding talks in Toronto this week and are set for further talks at an APEC summit in Hanoi this month.

Vietnam and other members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership are meeting in Canada to discuss the future of the pact after the U.S. withdrawal.

Senior trade officials from the signatory countries have been holding "TPP-minus-one" talks in Toronto on Tuesday and Wednesday. The negotiations are expected to continue at the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit to be held in Vietnam this month.

Bloomberg said Canada’s hosting of the event is the latest sign that it is looking to pivot away from its biggest trade partner amid escalating disputes with Donald Trump’s administration over several trade matters, including the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“Canada is front and center when it comes to trade in the Asia-Pacific region,” International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne was quoted as saying.

Trump quickly withdrew from the TPP after taking office last January, leaving the trade pact with 11 member states: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Champagne said he was “very happy that talks are progressing” on what’s next for the TPP nations, but there has been no consensus on whether the agreement can be salvaged.

“We’re going to see. That’s why we’re meeting next in Vietnam,” he told Bloomberg. “What’s important now is to look at all options.”

Hanoi will host the APEC Trade Ministers Meeting on May 20 and 21. The meeting will launch new actions by the 21 APEC member economies to establish a freer trade environment in the region.

Vietnam has been part of various attempts to move on from the TPP hiccup.

In February, its representatives met with counterparts from 15 Asian neighbors including China to discuss the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which could be seen as a rival to the TPP.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc also called for deeper economic ties between the bloc's members at the Asean Business Summit last December to deal with tighter trade controls in the U.S.

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