Trans-Pacific trade agreement goes ahead sans Trump

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"We have no update on when they are likely to convene", she said.

Besides the tariff cuts, the TPP agreement has provisions for protecting the environment, workers' rights and intellectual property - one of the major sticking points after the departure of the United States.

In an effort to salvage a multilateral agreement championed under the Obama administration, the 11 countries made efforts to proceed with the core elections of the trans-pacific trade pact on Saturday.

There are effectively four remaining issues of concern to Canada to be resolved, Mr Ciobo said.

The countries participating in the newly renamed Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Over the last few months, Japan and Australia had lobbied hard for the agreement.

Addressing reporters on Saturday, Vietnam's trade minister, Tran Tuan Anh, said the ministers had "reached an agreement on a number of fundamental parts".

At the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference in Vietnam, negotiating leaders had agreed to meet on Friday - however, an empty seat reserved for Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, led to accusations that he had reneged.

Canada's interest in becoming a party to TPP-11 is also said to be contingent on several additional improvements including in relation to the auto sector (in view of the fact that US content may not count in the determination of TPP-11 origin requirements, with the USA being outside of the TPP), intellectual property rules, protection of supply management in certain agricultural sectors and Canada's cultural industries.

Trudeau said days earlier that Canada would not be rushed into an agreement.

In a speech hours before at the summit, President Trump emphasized his hard line on multilateral trade deals, declaring that the United States of America would not be "taken advantage of anymore." the which has informed his threats to pull out of NAFTA.

Trump reiterated his markedly different stance on trade before the 21-member APEC summit convened late Friday with a gala banquet.

In contrast, the Chinese president, Xi Jinping spoke directly and stressed on how "openness brings progress".

As a developing country with a fast-growing export sector, this year's host country, Vietnam, has a strong interest in open trade and access for its exports to consumers in the West given the role foreign investment and trade have played in helping its economy to grow at a more than 6 percent pace. Danang, Vietnam's third largest city, is in the midst of a construction boom as dozens of resorts and smaller hotels pop up along its scenic coastline.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the new version of the deal that's been cut at the APEC summit this weekend has new safeguards to protect New Zealand.

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