Compromise found on Pacific trade without US

The countries, which include Canada and Japan, agreed to central components of an agreement that would allow the lifting of tariffs between them, promoting more open trade.

Japan said ministers from the 11 remaining countries reached broad agreement to push ahead with it on Thursday, though Canada had said that was not true.

Canada was squarely in the spotlight with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a no-show at a ministerial meeting that was attributed to a scheduling error, but had the hallmarks of gamesmanship created to demonstrate a willingness to walk away from the deal. For example, auto sector provisions have emerged as some of the most challenging of the NAFTA talks, threatening to dramatically change longstanding rule of origin regulations that have served as the basis for a critical North America-wide industry.

The ministers have assigned chief negotiators to continue to work on contentious technical issues and conduct legal reviews in preparation for the signing of the pact, Anh said.

However in the long run the revival of TPP will be positive for Malaysia as a pioneer member, with potential of increasing exports to member countries.

It is not clear yet when the agreement, which has been rebranded the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership - or CPTPP, will be finalised and implemented.

Trade ministers and delegates from the remaining members of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) attend the TPP Ministerial Meeting during the APEC 2017 in Da Nang, Vietnam November 9, 2017.

The CPTPP has revised the original TPP text so that it can come into force 60 days after at least six signatories complete domestic procedures.

"The people also need to know what are the benefits that they will get as the United States is no longer in the pact", he said.

Commenting on the CPTPP, Doctor Tran Toan Thang, of the National Centre for Information and Forecasting, MPI, told the Viet Nam News:"At last we have an agreement about the future of most debated FTA".

It was also possible the TPP-11 would be given a new name to distinguish it from the original 12-nation TPP.

It said a "limited set of provisions" from the original deal would be suspended.

Earlier, a last-minute objection by Canada had complicated the process.

Talks - often heated - have been held on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in the Vietnamese resort of Danang, where Trump and other leaders held their main meeting on Saturday.

"The Canadian side said today they are not yet at the stage where its leader can confirm the agreement reached among ministers", Japanese Prime Minister Shizo Abe told reporters, adding that all the other leaders had agreed.

Motegi, taking part in the Abe-Trudeau summit, said "no clear explanation" was offered as to why Canada can not support and announce the agreement at the leaders' level.

One Canadian official who declined to be named said ministers from different countries may have had different interpretations of Thursday's discussions. That left a deal that offered some benefits for increased trade with Japan, but little else, given that Canada already has free-trade agreements with several other TPP countries such as Mexico, Chile, and Peru.

It is understood Canada, the second largest economy in the TPP since the United States withdrew, had been in bilateral talks with Japan on role difference before Trudeau's no-show at the meeting.

Vanessa Coleman

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