World

TPP could be revived at Apec meeting

HANOI: Japan and other remaining members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership will this weekend decide how to revive the trade agreement ditched by US President Donald Trump.

Their trade ministers will talk on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam, where US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is also due to give more details of Washington's trade plans.

Uncertainty over those plans after Mr Trump abandoned a trade deal he had compared to the "rape" of America has brought fears of protectionism and strengthened China's leadership credentials in Asia.

Support has built among the so-called TPP-11 for pushing ahead without the US although trade within the smaller group is only a quarter of that between the original 12 members, according to the most recent data. Moving ahead could help the bargaining position of the members in bilateral talks with the US.

It could also undercut the increasing regional dominance of China, which is not part of the TPP and backs a bigger but less comprehensive free trade agreement for Asia.

For the TPP to take effect without the US, it would have to drop a rule requiring ratification by at least six countries.- REUTERS

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