11 TPP members remain divided over approach to put deal into force

Source: Xinhua| 2017-07-13 23:44:34|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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TOKYO, July 13 (Xinhua) -- Top negotiators from the 11 remaining Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) members wrapped up a meeting in Japan on Thursday, remaining divided over how to put the trade pact into force after the withdrawal of the United States.

Japan's chief negotiator Kazuyoshi Umemoto told reporters after the meeting that the 11 countries share a commitment to the early implementation of the pact and called for a new international agreement.

But the form of the new agreement is not clear yet, according to Umemoto, as the 11 countries still need to discuss issues such as how much the original content of the trade pact should be changed and whether to revise rules on trade and investment.

Umemoto said the negotiators have only agreed that keeping the high-standard free trade rules from the original trade pact should be a future guideline.

The negotiators will meet again in Australia in late August or early September to have further discussions over the issues in order to complete preparatory work by November to put the deal into force.

The leaders of the 11 countries are expected to meet on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Vietnam in November.

Under current rules, to make the TPP pact come into effect, at least six original signatories have to successfully ratify the agreement and those six signatories, between them, must represent 85 percent of the total GDP of the 12 original signatories.

As the United States, which represents over 60 percent of the TPP GDP, has withdrawn from the deal, it is impossible for the pact to come into effect under current rules.

Of the remaining 11 TPP members, some countries including Japan want to only change the requirements to bring the TPP into effect without revising other parts of the pact, while some others may call for a new round of negotiations on investment.

The TPP deal originally involved Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam. It was formally signed by ministers from these 12 countries in February last year after more than five years' negotiation.