In a major breakthrough, trade ministers from 11 Pacific Rim countries said they reached a deal Saturday to proceed with the free-trade Trans-Pacific Partnership deal that was in doubt after President Donald Trump abandoned it.
Trade ministers from 11 Pacific Rim countries have reached an agreement on the "core elements" of the TPP trade pact, even with the United States staying out of the deal.
Trade Minister Steve Ciobo is confident Canada will sign up to the 11-country free-trade agreement that would give Australia access to markets worth $1 trillion.
New Zealand's Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker said the CPTPP's "enforcement standards for labour laws and environmental standards and the right to regulate" were the strongest "that there has ever been in a trade agreement".
After their 50-minute meeting, Trudeau said Abe, co-chair of the TPP leaders' group, went to tell the other leaders, who had already gathered in the room, that the meeting had been postponed.
Japanese leaders want to shield its politically powerful agricultural sector from liberalization demands that are potentially harsher than those agreed under the TPP, but political analysts say the Trump administration is likely to step up calls for a bilateral free trade agreement, and the tough demands it will bring, regardless of the TPP's future.
"This is already a very, very fast process considering how complicated the agreement is and the fundamental change with the US withdrawing makes to the geometry of that agreement".
Ministers from the eleven TPP countries met this week on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in the resort city of Danang in Vietnam.
Asked whether Canada was back in the tent and TPP was back on she said: "I would characterise it in that way, yes".
However, Japan and the APEC host, Viet Nam are now expected to issue a statement at 11 am local time giving an update on the renamed Comprehensive Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in which just four outstanding areas of contention remain.
Partly to counter China's growing dominance in Asia, Japan had been lobbying hard for the TPP pact, which aims to eliminate tariffs on industrial and farm products across the 11-nation bloc whose trade totalled $356 billion a year ago.
The TPP countries agreed Friday to suspend controversial provisions from the original TPP deal related to intellectual property. Media reports directly blamed Canada and Trudeau for helping to scuttle the scheduled meeting.
"The Canadian prime minister is clearly equivocating and that is deeply disappointing.as is the position that the United States took under President Trump".
There was no immediate word on Canada's stance.
Chinese President Xi Jinping used the same forum to stress multilateralism and said globalisation was an irreversible trend.
Zhang said the Beijing-backed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade pact will not be impacted by TPP, to which China is not party. They're all attending the APEC Leaders Retreat in the afternoon.
As an institution, apart from its pageantry and its tradition of drawing leaders together for face-to-face meetings, APEC mainly serves as a laboratory for trying out policies and encouraging "best practices", said Alan Bollard, executive director for APEC's secretariat.
Trump restated his criticism at the leaders' summit in Vietnam on Friday.
"We have witnessed changes more rapid and complex than we expect", he said in opening remarks.