A new push for modified TPP?

Ministers from 11 TPP countries (without representatives from the US) met on the 21st of May in Hanoi to discuss possible next steps.

The one-day meeting was held in the capital of Vietnam, and was co-chaired by Vietnam and New Zealand, on the sidelines of the APEC meeting.

Japan, now the strongest economy of the remaining 11 TPP countries, is pushing for the massive free trade agreement (FTA) to be put into force as soon as possible, even if the US is out of the pact. Current focus is on Japan, who expressed eagerness to take a leading role, with the wish to reach a certain level of certainty with the other 10 signatories by November.

However, some of the TPP signatories were hoping to boost their exports to the US, therefore being reluctant to show interest in this deal, which would put the world’s largest economy aside. Vietnam and Malaysia are clear examples of the countries who showed disagreement with Tokyo’s proposal, while Australia and New Zealand have aligned with Japan.

In addition, the ministers will discuss the creation of new procedures that would enable the US to easily return to the free trade pact if circumstances were to change.

Original source