14:57 | 01/09/2017 Cooperation
Chief negotiators from the 11 remaining member countries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal agreed to reconvene in late September in Japan, after three days of talks ended in Sydney on August 30.
Australian Trade Minister Steven Ciobo - Photo: AFP/VNA
According to the Kyodo news agency, Japanese chief negotiator Kazuyoshi Umemoto told a press conference that they agreed to meet in Japan in the hope of reaching a final decision ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum summit to be held in Vietnam in November.
Umemoto said that as a result of the Sydney talks, "common understanding between their various countries had progressed."
The September talks would be the second time TPP negotiators have met in Japan in three months, following discussions at a hot spring resort southwest of Tokyo in July where members agreed to a new framework, following the US withdrawal in January.
During the Sydney talks, several countries proposed amendments or freezes be made to some elements of the trade deal, particularly issues surrounding government procurement and the protection of pharmaceutical intellectual property.
The TPP was signed in February 2016 by 12 countries namely Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam -- covering around 40 percent of the global economy.
But as currently framed, the trade agreement can only be put into force when ratified by at least six countries accounting for a combined 85 percent of the economic output of the initial 12 signatory nations -- an impossible hurdle to clear in the absence of the United States, which alone makes up 60 percent of the total.
Thus the agreement must be revised, and the 11 remaining countries are discussing this.