11 TPP members discuss amendment to put deal into force without U.S.

Source: Xinhua| 2017-09-22 22:23:29|Editor: liuxin
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TOKYO, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- Top negotiators from the 11 remaining Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) members discussed freezing or amending clauses of the original trade pact to bring it into force without the United States during a meeting that wrapped up here on Friday.

During the two-day meeting, the negotiators discussed in three working groups over some 50 requests made by member countries to freeze or amend some clauses of the trade pact, especially those terms originally introduced at the request of the United States.

Remaining divided over the changes, the negotiators agreed to meet in Tokyo again next month to narrow the differences.

Kazuyoshi Umemoto, the Japanese chief negotiator, told reporters after the meeting that Japan hopes to minimize the freezing of clauses "to maintain the high standards" of the original pact.

He also said that ministers from the 11 countries are expected to finalize the discussions on the sidelines of the summit 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 have successfully ratified 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 nearly 62 percent of the TPP GDP, has drawn out of the TPP, it's impossible to ratify the pact for the TPP to come into effect under current rules.

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.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced in January the withdrawal of the United States from the TPP, saying it would hurt the interests of his countries.

Japan, however, still hopes that by bringing into force the trade pact without the U.S. could somehow turn the U.S. around.

"The early implementation of the 11-party TPP will be effective in bringing the United States back to the pact," said Umemoto.