TPP negotiators to meet in Japan next week ahead of APEC summit

Kyodo

Negotiators from the 11 remaining signatories to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact will hold a three-day meeting near Tokyo next week in pursuit of an agreement by November, the government said Tuesday.

With the withdrawal of the United States early this year having prompted proposals to amend or freeze parts of the pact, the 11 countries are aiming to reach a deal in time for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum summit starting Nov. 10 in Vietnam.

“We basically want to reach a broad agreement at the leaders’ summit in November … we hope (next week’s meeting) will develop the discussion toward that point,” economic revitalization minister Toshimitsu Motegi, in charge of the TPP trade negotiations for Japan, said at a news conference.

Motegi said the chief negotiators’ meeting will take place starting Monday in Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture.

The negotiators will be tasked with narrowing down about 50 requests for freezes to parts of the original agreement, centering on clauses introduced at the request of the United States.

Temporary amendments or suspensions require the agreement of all 11 signatories.

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 before Washington’s withdrawal following the inauguration of President Donald Trump.