DANANG, Vietnam: Talks among 11 nations to revive the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit here have been postponed indefinitely.
It is learnt that Japan, which led the TPP-11 charge, had suspended the negotiations after Canada pulled out from a late afternoon meeting among the 11 TPP leaders.
Participating countries such as Malaysia and Vietnam are keen to revive the trade pact after the US abruptly abandoned it early this year.
They are receptive to a tweak to various points and are wrangling over whether some initial elements can be suspended to avoid the collapse of the pact.
The TPP-11 ministers and chief negotiators met until 3am yesterday (Friday) to reach an agreement.
They were scheduled to resume the meeting at 1.45pm (2.45pm Kuala Lumpur) before it was reportedly suspended.
Earlier reports quoted Japan and Mexico’s representatives as saying that the ministers had reached an agreement in principle after months of negotiations following the US withdrawal from the trade pact.
However, Canada’s International Trade Minister Francois-Phillips Champagne reportedly dismissed the news.
“Despite the reports, there is no agreement in principle on TPP,” he said in a tweet.
Later in the afternoon, a news portal reported that talks to revive the TPP had been postponed indefinitely after Canada pulled out.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, according to the portal, revealed that Canada had not shown up for the talks among the remaining 11 nations in the TPP.
"It is true that Canada did not attend that meeting and those talks have now been postponed. We have no update on when they are likely to convene,” she reportedly said.
The TPP was initially a US-led initiative between 12 nations accounting for 40 per cent of global gross domestic product, but excluding China.
It was thrown into disarray when President Donald Trump abruptly pulled out of the deal at the start of the year.