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13 November 2017, 12:23 | Tara Lloyd
Garment workers sew clothes at the Pro Sports factory in Nam Dinh province Vietnam on Oct. 24
The announcement of a basic agreement was delayed by last-minute discord that prevented the TPP leaders from endorsing the plan when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not join other leaders who gathered Friday to endorse an agreement in principle on pressing ahead without the U.S.
The representatives of the 11 Asia-Pacific countries, including Japan, Australia, Canada, Malaysia and Mexico, have agreed to push ahead toward the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
New Zealand's Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker said the CPTPP's "enforcement standards for labour laws and environmental standards and the right to regulate" were the strongest "that there has ever been in a trade agreement".
It's 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.
After U.S. President Donald Trump pulled the world's biggest economy from the TPP, Japan had been eager to clinch an accord at the APEC summit, with the remaining 11 signatories sharing the goal of an early implementation of the pact.
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However, there is more work to be done before a final agreement in principle is ironed out as 11 Pacific nations seek to salvage a trade deal, which almost sank after President Donald Trump bailed the United States out of the original 12-nation accord, covering 40 per cent of the world's economy.
"We are pleased that progress is being made towards a possible agreement, but there is still some work to be done".
Canada's position has been further complicated by the fact that it is simultaneously renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the Trump administration.
Ministers from the eleven TPP countries met this week on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in the resort city of Danang in Vietnam.
Trudeau said Saturday in Vietnam that despite some significant progress on the deal's framework there's still more work to be done, particularly when it comes to protecting Canada's auto and cultural sectors.
Canada's representatives were at the meeting and appear to have re-entered talks. He also says the ministers changed the name of the Trans-Pacific Partnership to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Partly to counter China's growing dominance in Asia, Japan had been lobbying hard for the TPP pact, which aims to eliminate tariffs on industrial and farm products across the 11-nation bloc whose trade totalled $356 billion a year ago.
APEC trade and foreign ministers separately ended a meeting on Thursday with a "very good outcome", despite differing views on trade and protectionism, Vietnamese Trade Minister Tran Tuan Anh said.
But the official line, as espoused by Champagne, was that Trudeau missed the meeting because of a "misunderstanding" about the schedule.
Zhang said the Beijing-backed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade pact will not be impacted by TPP, to which China is not party. The official disputes the notion it was a snub because the leaders would mingle at APEC events over the next 24 hours anyway. It cut into the planned TPP leaders' meeting and kept the other leaders waiting for them in the room.
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