TPP nations 'have made good progress' on deal, no-show 'a misunderstanding'

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has touched down in Vietnam ahead of a TPP ministers meeting

POOL Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has touched down in Vietnam ahead of a TPP ministers meeting

The Vietnamese trade minister says 11 Pacific Rim countries have reached a "fundamental agreement" on continuing with a free trade pact after the USA abandoned it.

Trade ministers from 11 Pacific Rim countries have reached an agreement on the "core elements" of the TPP trade pact, even with the U.S. staying out of the deal.

While some countries might be eager for a deal, notably Australia, New Zealand and Japan - their respective national news outlets quoted government sources expressing disappointment at Trudeau supposedly "screwing" and "sabotaging" a final agreement by being a no-show - Trudeau said they should never have expected to leave Vietnam with an agreement in hand.

Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Trudeau said though Canada was pleased with the progress made on TPP, there was "still more important work to be done". The compromise was delayed by last-minute disagreements that prevented the TPP leaders from meeting to endorse a plan on Friday.

United States President Donald Trump abandoned the TPP - regarded as former President Barack Obama's signature trade deal - after winning office in January this year.

Ministerial talks on a communique for the APEC leaders were extended into a second day on Thursday in the face of USA demands for changes to the language used concerning issues such as free trade and protectionism, officials at the talks said.

Like Mexico, its position is further complicated by renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the Trump administration.

"I'm not going to speculate on what other countries might say", Chrystia Freeland said when asked about the allegations that Canada is holding up the TPP.

The decision comes after days of tense negotiations on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam.

But some countries, including Malaysia and Vietnam, sought to opt out of such provisions during the talks, something Canada felt was untenable.

The Trudeau government had previously never fully committed to the TPP, and spent months consulting the public on the agreement.

But the official line, as espoused by Champagne, was that Trudeau missed the meeting because of a "misunderstanding" about the schedule.

Earlier, Mr Trump effectively slammed the door shut on any hope of America rejoining the TPP negotiations during his address to the APEC summit.

"It's hard to say what position Canada will take from here".

"The scheduled meeting with Prime Minister Abe ... went long, we obviously had a lot to talk about, and at the end of the meeting it became clear it was in everyone's interest to postpone the meeting on TPP11", Trudeau said as an explanation.

Zhang said the Beijing-backed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade pact will not be impacted by TPP, to which China is not party.

Mr Trump and the other 20 leaders of the APEC economies will on Saturday retreat into the Summit for private talks.

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"We're in an easier place to try things out, to test policy sensitivities even if we don't get everybody around the table", Bollard said. The official disputes the notion it was a snub because the leaders would mingle at APEC events over the next 24 hours anyway.

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