Members seeking way forward post-US withdrawal
VINA DEL MAR (Chile): The remaining members of the TransPacific Partnership (TPP) are seeking a way forward on the trade pact, they said on Wednesday, as some emphasised the need for deals to address concerns about workers’ rights and other issues.
The TPP was effectively torpedoed in its current form when President Donald Trump with- drew the United States from the agreement.
The 12 members met for the first time since then on Wednesday, assembled by Chile alongside China, South Korea, and Colombia, to try to thrash out a way forward.
With the retreat of the US, China appears to be the natural successor to lead those discussions, but an emphasis on getting a pro- gressive deal that wins buy-in from sceptical citizens could see nations in the Americas forging a different path.
Critics of the TPP have said it did not do enough to protect jobs. But the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, promoted by China, contains far less in terms of provisions for protecting workers and the environment.
Another way forward may be via Latin America’s Pacific Alliance trade bloc. Its four nations said they would seek to expand by allowing associate membership as a precursor to trade talks.
Trade officials are now set to come up with a menu of options for ministers before they meet in May at an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) gathering in Vietnam. Reuters