Eleven signatory countries of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) have shown their unity in pursuing the trade deal without the United States. — Photo thanhtra.com.vn
HÀ NỘI – Eleven signatory countries of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) have shown their unity in pursuing the trade deal without the United States.
The United States pulled out of the TPP – frequently called a “21st century trade agreement” – soon after US President Donald Trump took office in January.
Without the United States, 11 countries remain in the trade agreement including Japan, Australia, Canada, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Mexico, New Zealand, Malaysia, Peru, Singapore and Việt Nam.
Meeting on the sidelines of the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting (MRT) in Hà Nội on Sunday, the 11 remaining nations agreed to seek ways to move forward with the free trade pact without the United States.
The meeting reaffirmed the balanced outcome and the strategic and economic significance of the TPP and highlighted its principles and high standards as a way to promote regional economic integration and contribute positively to the economic growth prospects of its member countries.
“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,” a joint statement after the meeting said.
Minister of Industry and Trade Trần Tuấn Anh said Việt Nam maintained the standpoint that TPP is a free trade pact with high standards and high levels of commitment which would benefit economic and trade growth of both member states and global trade.
“It is a pity that a country won’t participate in the TPP process because it will affect the balanced outcomes of all nations involved in the negotiation process, as well as the validity and enforcement of the agreement,” the minister told reporters after the meeting.
He said the remaining nations had continued interests in pursuing the trade pact but cautioned that the next steps must safeguard balanced and harmonized benefits of all participating countries.
The minister said this would be an open agreement that would enable other countries to participate at appropriate times and under conditions that can preserve the high standards of the TPP, including the return of the United States.
New US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the United States would not consider the return and confirmed bilateral negotiations were better for the United States. But he reaffirmed the country would continue to cooperate with TPP member economies on a bilateral basis.
“We’re willing to negotiate bilateral agreements with other partners in the world,” Lighthizer said, but pledged the United States’ commitment to the Asia-Pacific region and said regional trade played an important role in US trade policy.
Commenting on the prospects for the TPP, New Zealand Minister of Industry and Trade Todd Michael McClay expressed hope that the deal would be deployed, bringing benefits to businesses and people.
Twelve countries that border the Pacific Ocean signed up to the TPP in February 2016, representing 40 per cent of the global economy. The pact aimed at deepening economic ties between these nations, cutting tariffs and promoting trade to boost growth.
After the United States left the agreement, only Japan and New Zealand have ratified the deal.
Following the meeting in Hà Nội, eleven countries agreed to engage in work to prepare an assessment of options before they meet on the sidelines of the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting in November in Đà Nẵng. – VNS