DANANG, Vietnam – Leaders of the 11 countries participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement will meet on Friday to work out a new deal without the participation of the United States, who pulled out earlier in the year.
The meeting will take place on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit which is being held in the Vietnamese city of Danang.
“I would say we are in the final stage, which is always difficult, but at least Chile has been working hard, with flexibility, to try to reach a result,” Chile’s Deputy Minister of Commerce, Paulina Nazal, had told EFE on Friday.
According to Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Luis Videgaray, the talks are aimed at amending the existing agreement after US President Donald Trump pulled out from the free trade pact in January.
There have been speculations about a TPP announcement since the beginning of the APEC summit on Monday.
Late on Thursday, Japan’s Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said at a press conference that an agreement in principle had been reached to revive the treaty, although shortly after Canada’s Commerce Minister, François-Philippe Champagne, denied it in a tweet that said “despite reports, there is no agreement in principle on TPP.”
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Thursday night that the negotiations have reached a crucial point, although the outcome is yet uncertain.
The TPP – that comprises Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam and was signed in 2016 – needed to be ratified by countries representing 85 percent of the bloc’s GDP to come into effect.
Its future became uncertain when Trump – to fulfill his election promise – pulled the US, representing 60 percent of the bloc’s GDP, out of the agreement.