TPP-11 forging ahead without the US

09:49 | 12/12/2017 Cooperation

(VEN) - Following the US withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement, the 11 remaining members of the pact meeting at the APEC leaders’ summit in November in Da Nang, reaffirmed their commitment to the agreement, now called as the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Their leaders agreed to maintain a high-standard deal that ensures the trade interests of all member economies, setting aside major intellectual property issues to be negotiated at a later date.

tpp 11 forging ahead without the us

Common balance point found

TPP-12 was designed by negotiating countries as a high-standard trade pact and its Pacific Rim member states were satisfied with its common balance point when signing the deal in February 2016. The US withdrawal from the TPP by the Trump Administration raised concerns about the remaining members’ ability to maintain such a high-quality agreement. To overcome these difficulties, the heads of negotiating delegations adopted realistic approaches to maintain the deal’s high-quality and comprehensive nature, while at the same time ensuring its enforceability in the remaining member countries, including Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

The recent negotiations among ministers and heads of TPP negotiation delegations reflected difficulties in finding a balance point to satisfy all 11 member countries while maintaining major benefits that the agreement would yield, Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh told the media.

In negotiations, ministers spoke about the necessity of realizing TPP-11 and agreed to maintain it as a high-quality and comprehensive trade deal in all aspects. Therefore, they decided to rename the agreement by adding two words, “comprehensive” and “progressive”, as overall objectives of the CPTPP. Following negotiation efforts, they reached a consensus on major contents of the agreement and found a new point that balances the interests of all member countries. Although the CPTPP is yet to be finalized prior to its official signing, “we have overcome the biggest difficulties and are very near to the CPTPP,” Minister Tran Tuan Anh said.

Intellectual property

Minister Tran Tuan Anh affirmed that CPTPP member countries had reached a consensus on the core elements of the trade deal and agreed to maintain it as a comprehensive, high-standard agreement, taking into account the economic condition and development level of each member. He added that the CPTPP allows member countries to postpone some obligations. Based on their joint statement issued in Da Nang, economic leaders will assign the heads of negotiating delegations to deal with technical issues on which they have yet to reach a consensus, and make necessary legal preparations for the CPTPP to be signed soon.

Japanese Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said that after a ministerial statement is issued, each economic minister would report to the head of state on the essence of the CPTPP so that the agreement can be ratified by each country. The CPTPP will officially take effect 60 days after at least six among the 11 member countries ratify it. “We talked very much about the content of the agreement, not only inclusive trade but also investment, intellectual property and various sets of principles. The CPTPP should be enforced as soon as possible. This is a comprehensive agreement covering a wide range of fields. By nature, it is a higher-standard and more progressive agreement compared with those signed in the past,” Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said.

CPTPP member countries reached a consensus on the agreement after short bilateral and multilateral negotiations. In Da Nang, all parties displayed a strong sense of responsibility striving to find a common voice. The CPTPP text consists of 8,000 pages, and among the 20 provisions that will be postponed, 12 are related to intellectual property. Member countries still have to negotiate to reach a consensus on four points before the agreement is signed.

The Japanese economy minister said, “We are maintaining a high-quality agreement like the TPP-12. Each member country can propose adjustments in line with their concerns and priorities. However, the CPTPP will never take effect if each member country proposes too many adjustments. So, for the CPTPP to be enforced soon, each country will adjust some provisions to ensure the harmony of national interests and common benefits for all members.” He also expressed his belief that with strong commitments, CPTPP parties will overcome all challenges and problems that still hinder the finalization of the agreement, and that there will be a new code for the Asia-Pacific region - a major playing field in the world.

Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh: The results achieved in the city of Da Nang reflected great efforts by the 11 remaining members of the TPP to promote economic growth, generate jobs, improve people’s lives, facilitate trade and increase economic cooperation among regional countries.

Quang Hang