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TPP trade deal moving forward without U.S.

By Andrew V. Pestano
TPP trade deal moving forward without U.S.
Todd McClay (2R), New Zealand's trade minister, said Asia-Pacific trade ministers on Sunday settled to move forward with the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement without the United States. Photo courtesy of Todd McClay

May 21 (UPI) -- Asia-Pacific trade ministers on Sunday settled to move forward with the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement despite U.S. President Donald Trump abandoning the deal.

The ministers from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Malaysia, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam met as part of a Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, or APEC, event.

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After Trump scrapped the deal in January, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull suggested China could be a replacement.

Todd McClay, New Zealand's trade minister, said he and his counterparts "underlined their vision for the TPP to expand to include other economies that can accept the high standards of the TPP."

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"The ministers reaffirmed the balanced outcome and the strategic and economic significance of the TPP highlighting its principles and high standards as a way to promote regional economic integration, contribute positively to the economic growth prospects of its member countries, and create new opportunities for workers, families, farmers, businesses and consumers," McClay said in a statement.

McClay said enacting the TPP would "address our concern about protectionism, contribute to maintaining open markets, strengthening the rules-based international trading system, increasing world trade, and raising living standards."

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The TPP, which would have connected 40 percent of the global economy, took nearly eight years of negotiations. Though an agreement was reached in October 2015, the deal was not approved by U.S. Congress, so it never took effect.

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Despite the lack of U.S. support, the TPP effort is revived.

"The ministers agreed on the value of realizing the TPP's benefits and to that end, they agreed to launch a process to assess options to bring the comprehensive, high quality agreement into force expeditiously, including how to facilitate membership for the original signatories," McClay added.

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