11 nations enter final stretch on TPP deal

09.11.17

A ministerial meeting of 11 signatory countries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement kicked off Wednesday, aiming to reach a broad agreement for the pact to take effect without the United States, which has pulled out of the deal.

The talks in Da Nang, Vietnam, are expected to run until Thursday, but may be extended depending on the progress of negotiations, sources said.

The countries are yet to reach a broad agreement on some issues, such as which agreed-upon regulations should be frozen until the United States returns. At a breakfast meeting held on the first day, Toshimitsu Motegi, minister in charge of economic revitalization, called on the participants to sort out the issues to be addressed to reach an agreement, as well as specific points to be discussed.

Through talks by chief negotiators of these countries and other means, decisions have been made on about half of the approximately 50 items suggested for freezing. The remaining are set to be decided politically.

Motegi plans to hold bilateral talks with ministers from almost all the countries and urge them to work toward a broad agreement to be reached as soon as possible.

Vietnam is also the focus of attention. It disagrees with other countries over such issues as relaxing rules for eliminating tariffs on textile products, a field in which it is strong, and securing the free flow of data used in e-commerce transactions.

A ministerial meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum also kicked off Wednesday morning in Da Nang, attended by 21 countries and regions including the United States and China.Speech