Hanoi: 11 countries part of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreed to proceed without the United States on Sunday.
The agreement comes after President Trump’s rhetoric of “American first”. The representative of 11 countries, part of TPP, met on the sidelines of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), held in Hanoi, to materialise the massive trade deal.
“These efforts would address our concern about protectionism, contribute to maintaining open markets, strengthening the rules-based international trading system, increasing world trade, and raising living standards,” the group said in a ministerial statement on Sunday.
It was further reported that a complete assessment would be carried out before another meeting on the sidelines of APEC in mid-November in Vietnam.
TPP was till far considered dead after President Trump, on assuming the presidency, signed an order to withdraw the United States from the agreement. He termed the deal a “disaster” saying that it would hurt US manufacturing.
Despite the initial stance of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japanese officials have responded positively to invites from Australia and New Zealand to proceed without the US. Earlier PM Abe had termed the deal as “meaningless”.
New Zealand has been actively promoting the partnership after the US withdrew convincing the member nations that the deal would still benefit all.
New Zealand Trade Minister Todd McClay has spent much of this year on the road, selling the plan to keep the agreement alive to partners who worried the absence of the U.S. wouldn’t make the Pact worthwhile.
“New Zealand’s never thought that the agreement was dead,” said New Zealand’s trade minister McClay in a recent interview to a private news agency. “One country decides not to go ahead, but it’s still a high-quality agreement and a common set of rules across the Asia Pacific.”
Among representatives of the TPP countries, Paulina Nazal Aranda, general director of international economic affairs at Chile’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said on Sunday that the TPP-11 were united in the view that the pact was a good agreement.
“We are clear that it’s going to bring benefit to our society for farmers, for families, for SMEs, for youth, for women,” she said.
She expected that necessary changes would be brought forth to the deal after the US withdrawal.
“The main idea is not to reopen the complete negotiations. It’s because there is a consensus that the original TPP responded to a situation that all of us were willing to comply [with] from the beginning,” she said.