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20 Feb 2018 3:00
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  •   Home > News > Politics

    TPP is back on but not ready for signing

    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is more confident of progressing the Trans-Pacific Partnership after Canada returned to the negotiating table.


    The Trans-Pacific Partnership is back on and this time it's got a new name.

    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she doesn't want to speculate but the deal appears to be in a much more stable place than it was on Friday afternoon when Canada withdraw from talks without explanation.

    But it's still not a done deal.

    Trade ministers, including David Parker, held emergency talks in Da Nang, Vietnam, on Friday night while leaders were at the APEC Summit gala dinner.

    Canada's representatives were at the meeting and appear to have re-entered talks.

    "After such dramatic movement, I wouldn't want to give it a hard and fast but after last night it appears that there has been some consensus among TPP nations," Ms Ardern said.

    The consensus appears to be around the core agreement but there are still question marks over some aspects, including four areas that have been suspended.

    At Friday night's meeting, a new name was decided, in part help bring Canada back on board.

    It's now called the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership or CPTPP, Mr Parker said.

    "It is a more comprehensive and progressive agreement than has ever been agreed in major nation multi-lateral agreements before, so it was important to some, including Canada, that it be referenced in the renaming of that because there's some misunderstanding of that out in the public," he said.

    While there is legal agreement around much of the new CPTPP, four aspects are expected to be renegotiated.

    Japan and Vietnam are expected to make statements later on Saturday, which Mr Parker said would outline those areas.

    It's understood to include cultural requirements that are an issue for Canada, labour standards causing problems for Vietnam and issues around market access affecting Malaysia.

    "Although progress has been made clarifying some of those issues, there is still some work to be done to bring them to a finality," Mr Parker said.

    Ms Ardern said those statements would also give leaders more clarity around the path forward.

    This is the third version of the deal after the original TPP, which included the US, and the second TPP-11 deal.

    Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was forced to face leaders at the gala dinner on Friday night, including Ms Ardern, but she said the pair didn't discuss the deal.

    They're expected to have a formal bilateral meeting at ASEAN and East Asia Summit in the Philippines early next week.

    At this stage there's no meeting of all 11 leaders planned for Saturday. They're all attending the APEC Leaders Retreat in the afternoon.

    © 2018 NZN, NZCity


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