On the sidelines of the APEC meeting in Da Nang, Vietnam, the eleven countries trying to negotiate the TPP have agreed on the “core elements” of the trade deal, but some contentious areas – including culture and dispute settlement – were set aside for further negotiation.
It came just hours after the Canadians were accused of blocking an agreement earlier in the day.
The political drama included a scheduled meeting of TPP leaders that the Canadian prime minister did not attend and that was ultimately cancelled, leading to international media reports that Canada had “screwed” its TPP allies after getting cold feet.
However, Canada’s Trade Minister dismissed the reports as a “misunderstanding,” and said Canada took the time it needed to push for stronger protections related to the environment and labour.
The challenge for Canada and Mexico is that both TPP nations are also in the middle of renegotiating the North American free-trade agreement with the Americans, meaning that many of the same issues are in play at the two separate negotiating tables.
While APEC includes 21 member countries, the 11 nations of the TPP include New Zealand, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. The TPP parties are all APEC members.
Here is the Statement issued after the latest meeting:
“Ministers are pleased to announce that they have agreed on the core elements of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. Ministers agree that the CPTPP maintains the high standards, overall balance and integrity of the TPP while ensuring the commercial and other interests of all participants and preserving our inherent right to regulate, including the flexibility of the parties to set legislative and regulatory priorities.”