TPP ministers head to Vietnam to debate pact’s fate – 19 May 2017

  • Negotiators and ministers from Trans-Pacific Partnership countries are set to begin deciding the future of the trade pact without the U.S.
  • Nobuteru Ishihara, Japan’s economic revitalization minister, spoke with reporters on 19 May 17 morning before leaving for weekend meetings in Vietnam. “We’ll strive to clearly show that we are in agreement on implementing the TPP early,” Ishihara said at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.
  • Lead negotiators are scheduled to meet on 20 May 17, followed by a meeting of ministers on 21 May 17. This will be the first ministerial-level meeting on pressing ahead with the Pacific-rim trade deal, which was left with 11 members after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew in Jan 17.
  • Ishihara’s mission is to build support among the remaining participants, now known as the TPP11, for putting the pact into effect as is. Tokyo and New Zealand want to maintain the terms that were agreed upon before the U.S. pulled out, but the prospects for doing so are unclear.
  • Vietnam and Malaysia may resist moving forward without changes, Ishihara suggested, because they only reluctantly agreed to relax their regulations in exchange for better U.S. market access.

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