Canada and 10 other countries explore possibility of TPP without U.S.

In the margins of the meeting of trade ministers of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) countries last weekend, ministers from the eleven remaining Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries pledged to come up with options for bringing the agreement into force without the participation of the United States.

“The ministers agreed on the value of realising the TPP’s benefits and to that end, they agreed to launch a process to assess options to bring the comprehensive, high quality agreement into force expeditiously, including how to facilitate membership for the original signatories,” said a joint ministerial statement released on Sunday. The Ministers also underlined their vision for the TPP to expand to include other economies.

Senior trade officials are to engage to take forward the preparation of this assessment. Ministers asked for this work to be completed before they meet in the margins of the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting on November 10-11, 2017 in Da Nang, Vietnam.

Canadian officials said that the TPP must be altered before it can move forward, citing concerns about intellectual property provisions, including patent extensions.

The TPP is a free trade agreement which originally involved 12 countries (Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam). Negotiations were concluded at the end of 2015. The agreement never came into force as the United States withdrew in January.

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