06 May 2017

News Story: Negotiators fail to present concrete path to U.S.-less TPP

TORONTO -- Top negotiators from the 11 countries participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade pact wrapped up a two-day meeting here on May 3, after reaching an agreement to continue negotiations over the accord despite the pullout of the United States.

However, negotiators failed to present a concrete road map toward implementing the TPP, as the signatory nations have different motivations for participating in the far-reaching pact. Topics for discussions were pushed forward to a ministerial meeting to be held in Vietnam later this month.

On Day 2 of the meeting, negotiators were engaged in full-scale discussions on a path to bringing the TPP into effect. After the meeting, Japan's chief TPP negotiator Keiichi Katakami, deputy minister for foreign affairs, told reporters, "Participating countries shared the feeling that we needed to move the discussion forward so we didn't lose momentum as we weighed the significance of the TPP."

A negotiator from a country enthusiastic about early TPP implementation also lauded the conference, saying, "It was a very successful meeting."

However, participating countries face domestic skepticism about the efficacy of the pact, which they had joined expecting greater access to the world's largest market: the United States. How to dispel such reservations was also a subject of debate, but negotiators failed to find a breakthrough and wrapped up the meeting nearly three hours earlier than scheduled.

Read the full story at The Mainichi