TPP-11 revive Trans-Pacific trade deal after US withdrawal

DANANG, Vietnam, Nov. 12 — Trade ministers from the remaining Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) members reached a Nov. 11 political agreement to keep the trade deal alive without the United States, despite Canada’s last-minute balking at the talks.

They agreed to suspend 20 provisions of the original TPP, mostly dealing with intellectual property rights such as the data exclusivity period for biologic drugs, until the U.S. might return to the deal.

The TPP has also been renamed as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) with 11 members.

The CPTPP countries are Japan, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, Chile, Peru and Vietnam.

“It is an important step moving toward the original TPP 12,” including the U.S., Japan’s TPP Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told reporters at a press conference in the central Vietnamese city of Danang.

At the same time, the CPTPP countries inserted a clause in the agreement, stipulating that they will renegotiate the deal if any country request to do so and if there is no prospect the U.S. will return to the deal.

The CPTPP countries still need further negotiations in four areas to prepare finalized text for signature, according to a joint statement. The areas are the treatment of state-owned enterprises, services and investment, dispute settlement and cultural exception.

The countries aim to sign the deal as early as earlier next year, informed sources said. The CPTPP will take effect after ratification by six of the 11 countries.

Yet, Canada’s position has been complicated the talks.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau failed to attend a scheduled meeting of the TPP-11 leaders on Nov. 10. Canada insisted there is no rush to conclude a new deal, and the meeting was later cancelled.

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