Japan wants a massive trade deal without the US — but these countries stand in its way

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe next to a map of the original Trans-Pacific Partnership participating countries. [TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA / AFP / Getty Images]

 

  • Negotiators from the 11 remaining TPP countries are holding talks this week on how to ink a deal without Washington, but internal divisions are a key obstacle
  • Vietnam and Malaysia, in particular, are looking to re-open discussions on certain provisions, complicating Japan’s desire to cement an agreement

As the 11 remaining Trans-Pacific Partnership countries continue talks without Washington this week, certain member states now need convincing to stay on board with the massive trade deal.

No longer the world’s largest trade pact after President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. earlier this year, the TPP remains alive — for now. Its surviving participants have agreed to forge ahead without Washington with the goal of completing preparatory work for a treaty by November, as agreed upon in May.

However, internal divisions are a key obstacle as some participants look to rework existing provisions in light of Washington’s absence.

“On the one hand, you have Japan, Australia and New Zealand who would like to push ahead with the agreement as is, just with some only technical modifications to allow it to come into force,” Andrew Staples, Southeast Asia director at Economist Corporate Network, told CNBC on Friday. “But countries such as Malaysia and Vietnam, on the other hand, are questioning whether a deal makes sense without getting access to the U.S. market.”

Full article: Japan wants a massive trade deal without the US — but these countries stand in its way (CNBC)

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