Talks for new Trans-Pacific Partnership delayed by Canada
DANANG, VIETNAM: Talks in Vietnam to resurrect a landmark Pacific trade deal rejected by the Trump administration remained deadlocked yesterday, as Canada was accused of stalling for time and hampering the prospects of a breakthrough deal at a regional summit.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was initially a US-led project between 12 nations accounting for 40 per cent of global gross domestic product, and deliberately excluded Washington's regional rival China.
It was thrown into disarray when US President Donald Trump pulled out of the deal at the start of the year, dismaying allies including Japan, Australia, Canada and Vietnam.
Hopes had been high that the remaining countries - dubbed the TPP-11 - would be able to hash out a new deal on the sidelines of the annual Apec summit in Vietnam.
But three days of talks have made little headway.
Chile's Foreign Minister Heraldo Munoz said negotiators almost had an agreement nailed down until a last-minute intervention by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
"The Prime Minister of Canada has asked for more time," he told reporters yesterday afternoon, adding that among the demands Ottawa was pushing for was stronger intellectual property protections.
Without the US, TPP-11 only represents 13.5 per cent of the global economy, but the remaining countries are scrambling to avoid the deal's collapse, especially given the increasingly protectionist winds sweeping through the US and Europe. - REUTERS