Business

TPP members make progress on new trade accord, eye November deadline

Kyodo

The Trans-Pacific Partnership nations have made progress toward adopting a new free trade agreement in November, Japan’s representative said Friday, raising hopes for revisions after the United States withdrew from the pact.

The chief negotiators of the 11 TPP members ended a two-day meeting in Tokyo with an agreement to meet again here next month.

“We made meaningful progress,” Japanese chief negotiator Kazuyoshi Umemoto told reporters after the meeting. The members are aiming to clinch a new deal at the summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Vietnam in November.

“We’re moving toward implementation of the pact at the earliest possible date,” Umemoto said.

At the meeting, three working groups on legal, intellectual property and other issues discussed requests made by members to freeze parts of the original agreement, particularly clauses introduced at the request of the U.S.

The United States withdrew from the pact after President Donald Trump took office in January, saying Americans would lose jobs if it joined the multilateral trade liberalization deal. Trump also said he prefers pursuing bilateral agreements.

The TPP was signed in February 2016 by Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam — covering around 40 percent of the global economy.