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22 Feb 2018 12:10
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  •   Home > News > Politics

    Canada out: Trudeau abandons TPP talks

    Canada has without warning abandoned a Trans-Pacific Partnership leaders' meeting, forcing discussions to be postponed indefinitely.

    Canada has abandoned Trans-Pacific Partnership talks without warning, forcing leaders meeting in Vietnam to postpone discussions indefinitely.

    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern attended the TPP Leaders Meeting in Da Nang on Friday afternoon where the remaining 10 nations had reached agreement, including Vietnam whose opposition on Thursday night caused last minute confusion.

    Leaders were at the table waiting for a final report from negotiators and trade ministers in order to discuss a final outcome when the latest issue arose.

    "It is true that Canada did not attend that meeting and those talks have now been postponed. We have no update on when they are likely to reconvene," she said.

    Ms Ardern described them as having withdrawn at this point.

    Less than 24 hours earlier Canada's representatives were among those cheering when it was believed a final deal had been agreed between all the remaining 11 nations.

    Those celebrations were short lived when it was discovered one nation, understood to be Vietnam, wasn't quite ready to sign off.

    That issue had since been resolved and it was understood an agreement had finally been reached.

    New Zealand also managed to make gains on investor-state dispute settlement clauses, which had been raised as a possible point of contention by Japan.

    Not all issues were completely resolved but there was enough movement to make negotiators happy.

    So leaders were left blindsided by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's decision to back away.

    Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is understood to have met with Mr Trudeau shortly before the meeting to discuss the latter's decision not to attend but returned to the meeting room alone and without explanation.

    "I can't tell you what the current issues are that Canada have put on the table, they were not outlined to us in that final meeting," Ms Ardern said.

    "My understanding was they had signalled some concerns which had predominantly been resolved."

    It would be a guess at this point whether this meeting heralds the end of the TPP but it would be a significantly different deal without Canada in it.

    She wouldn't say whether New Zealand would pursue a TPP-10 without Canada, saying that option raised more questions.

    Ms Ardern has a meeting scheduled with Mr Trudeau at the East Asia Summit in the Philippines next week where she expects to raise the latest developments.

    It'll also likely be a hot topic of discussions when all 21 APEC leaders come together for the gala dinner on Friday night (local time).

    © 2018 NZN, NZCity

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