TPP back on with new name, Canada apparently back on board

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, pictured during his Oct 24 Skype chat with Jacinda Ardern (@JustinTrudeau)

LATEST: Parker defends modest gains as TPP limps back to life

UPDATE / 3.20pm: The on-again-off-again revival of the Trans-Pacific Partnership is back on after a confusing 12 hours in which Canada appeared to have walked away from the deal, but returned to the negotiating table claiming “a misunderstanding.”

Briefing New Zealand media ahead of the Apec Leaders’ Retreat in Da Nang, Viet Nam, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said: “I wouldn’t want to speculate but I think probably we’re in a more stable place than we were yesterday.”

Asked whether Canada was back in the tent and TPP was back on she said: “I would characterise it in that way, yes.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau threw the future of the so-called TPP-11 into doubt yesterday afternoon by failing to turn up to a meeting of leaders of the 11 countries still working toward a new Pacific Rim trade and investment deal that is as much geopolitical as economic in its focus.

Japan has led the revival of the pact since Donald Trump withdrew the US from TPP in his first act as president in January. Yesterday’s Trudeau no-show was a major loss of face of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

However, Japan and the Apec host, Vietnam are now expected to issue a statement at 11am local time giving an update on the renamed Comprehensive Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in which just four outstanding areas of contention remain.

Among the most sensitive for Canada is understood to be protection for automobile production, while Vietnam has been resistant to the pact’s insistence on minimum standards for labour and environmental practices.

Facing Canadian domestic political pressures similar to those faced by the New Zealand Labour-led government from the left of its support base, it appears Canada has pushed for the inclusion of the “comprehensive, progressive” wording to stress this is not an ‘old-style’ agreement focused only on trade.

One report, from local outlet CBC News, says the CPTPP will suspend the TPP's chapter on intellectual property.

Trudeau: Now back at the negotiating table with new socks, and a new attitude.

Parker: progressive
New Zealand’s Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker said the CPTPP’s “enforcement standards for labour laws and environmental standards and the right to regulate" were the strongest "that there has ever been in a trade agreement.  

“In that sense, it is a more comprehensive and progressive agreement than has ever been agreed in a major multilateral agreement before and it’s important to some, including Canada, that that be referenced in the renaming of the text because there’s some misunderstanding about that out in the public.”

Ms Ardern said CPTPP was “a different deal from what was being negotiated at the time that the US was at the table … not least because there have been some suspended clauses which were important to NZ in particular.”

However, prominent anti-TPP campaigner, Jane Kelsey from the University of Auckland law school, said in a statement based on a leaked text of today's progress statement that she was “‘disappointed, but not surprised" that the Labour government had largely endorsed the TPP agreement signed up to by the previous National Party-led government "with the suspension of a limited range of items”.

She released a leaked version of the leaders’ statement expected this morning in Vietnam, saying “the US and its companies will get large benefits for no price.”

The US remains outside the agreement, at least during a Trump presidency, but negotiators hope the world’s largest economy will rejoin a trade bloc that Japan has championed in part because it represents a bulwark against rising Chinese geo-political influence.

Ardern raises eyebrows
Ardern raised eyebrows among some TPP leaders by her frank, early admission to media travelling with her yesterday that the TPP leaders’ meeting had failed.

Australian ministers initially attempted to play down the Canadian no-show before officials briefed their travelling media that there was anger at the Canadian performance.

Canadian media reported a defensive stance from Trudeau’s contingent, who sought to characterise the no-show as a “misunderstanding” about the schedule and the intention to try to conclude a way forward on TPP at Da Nang. Canadian press reports said the meeting “did not happen” and that New Zealand and Australian media reports were “blaming” Canada for the breakdown.

"Standard" handshake
Trade ministers reconvened overnight while APEC leaders attended the traditional leaders’ banquet, where Ardern said she exchanged pleasantries with Trump, including a “standard” handshake, a reference to the president's penchant for extended gripping with counterparts.

She was seated at the dinner with Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi, but did not directly discuss the plight of Rohingya Muslim refugees who have been subject to ethnic cleansing by the Burmese military, which holds the key to her political position as State Counsellor, akin to prime minister status.

Ardern said she had discussed her constitutional relationship with the Burmese military.

Trudeau is reported to have had “very direct” talks with Aung San Suu Kyi about the human rights abuses against the Rohingya yesterday while at APEC.

Jacinda Ardern told media there was simply no information on Canada's position. On his social media accounts, PM Justin Trudeau appeared to have a tourism and photo-op focus.

EARLIER / 8am: Trudeau no-show throws TPP in doubt

Canada's Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has failed to turn up to a crucial meeting of leaders of the 11 leaders of countries still signed up to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, in Da Nang, Viet Nam, throwing into serious doubt the anticipated conclusion to negotiations of the stalled Pacific Rim trade and investment pact.

The future of the long-fought deal is unclear as the Da Nang negotiating session was seen by many of the 11 signatory nations as the final opportunity to revive the agreement, which lost the participation of the United States when Donald Trump withdrew from TPP in his first act as president in January.

However, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told New Zealand media in Da Nang that there was simply no information to go on as to Canada's position.

"We'd all be guessing at this point but it's certainly fair to say that in the here and now, there's been a postponement," she said. "It's difficult to say what position Canada will take from here. It's a significantly different deal without Canada in it."

At this stage, there had been no discussion of taking TPP down to a 10-member agreement, she said.

"I cannot say whether or not they have formally withdrawn but I can say that they were not there. I can't give you a clear indication of Canada's final position because they were not there to convey that to us."

Mr Trudeau is expected to come under heavy pressure from other TPP leaders at tonight's gala dinner for the 21 leaders of the Apec economies, who are meeting in Da Nang for their annual summit. However, he will find a friend in President Donald Trump, whose speech to an Apec CEOs' meeting here today stressed a preference for bilateral trade agreements rather than deals involving multiple countries which he said had failed the US, the world's largest economy.

However, Canadian ministers have said in recent days they are in no hurry to conclude TPP, which raises difficult conflicts for Canada as it faces efforts by the Trump administration to renegotiate or abandon the North American Free Trade Agreement, which is of far greater value today to Canada than the TPP might be in the future.

As the most protectionist of the developed economies involved in TPP, Canada has also faced significant opposition from its dairy and other agricultural producers, although access to the highly protected Japanese beef market is attractive.

Lucky break for Ardern
Japanese leadership saw the so-called TPP-11 box on without the US, although the change of government in New Zealand saw the country once seen as the original champion of the deal becoming a problem as it sought to water down the investor-state dispute settlement provisions that allow corporations to sue governments – an issue that has galvanised opposition to the TPP agreement.

In that sense, a TPP failure that is not caused by New Zealand is not a major political problem for the new New Zealand government, since it would be no worse than other countries left standing at the altar while facing no domestic backlash from political supporters who would see Ardern's support for TPP-11 as a retreat from Labour's anti-TPP rhetoric prior to the election.

"New Zealand was at the table because we had made good progress on the issues we were concerned about," she said. "It was certainly our intent to see some level of conclusion."

(BusinessDesk)


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If Trump decides he wants back in someday, but only if the CPTPP is to be Not Too PC to appease his constituents. Will the CPTPP need to change to the NTPCCPTPP agreement?

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Why wouldnt they be? - TPP = Trans Pacific Partnership and Canada is a Pacific rim country.

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Hint: it's a free trade agreement...

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Trudeau not being the flavour of the TPP talks . In Canada the feeling is Mr Trudeau is a lot more interested in turning Canada into a nation of feminism and gay Parades, a lot more than signing a trade agreement such as the TPP
Talk in Canada is the only reasons he went to Vietnam was for Photo Opportunites and coverage of him not wearing any socks in his shoes.
I kid you not check out the Toronto Sun newspapers reports as well as the comments by many Canadians.

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Yes he comes across as another one of those leaders that is all about pushing his personal profile. We in NZ know all about those type of leaders don't we?

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No Canada is on a different scale altogether, than New Zealand and overall there is no question of it putting all its eggs in the Chinese basket and or surrendering to Russia. While Canada has a huge inflow of Chinese/HK immigrants and money there is certainly no possibility of them achieving any sort of human or political majority and culturally Canada remains alligned to Western values and NATO and a view you can run your own life. While traditionally, Canada in some ways resembles New Zealand in a free health and education system predominating and a lot of left wing academics at the softer edge of the western spectrum- in many ways the once close and very important political and intelligence relationship has weakened as the Canadian mounties intelligence no longer seem to provide the real intelligence services for the NZ military and screening. Our relationship with Canada's Navy is probably more important now in the eyes of our politicians than in the 1970s when we often operated out ships as part of the Canadian Naval Pacific squadron which was in some senses part of the American Navy on the Pacific coast although not as much as Australia's Charles F Adams - USN Buchanan type squadron which in some senses was among the few NATO and alligned warships that he US Navy regarded as part of the US Navy and ran with full operational USN codes and electronic warfare suites. The Australian Navy was probably more trusted as Otawa as the back door to Washington was a favourite operational areas for serious Soviet mllitary intelligence.
Trudeau's father during the 1960s greatly downscaled the scale of the Canadian Navy returned its independently useable stock of nuclear bombs and depth charges to the USA and downgraded the priority for the RCN and RCAF of anti submarine warfare scrapping the Canadian carrier HMS bonaventure which had been used as increasingly specialised anti submarine ship with potential and probably real nuclear armament. Truedeau senior argued that with increasing cabability of the Soviet Navy and its submarines, that in the unlikely event Canada still had the conventional capability to find and sink Soviet nuclear submarines it would not be a contribution to the defence of North America and deterence but an act that could potentially start WW3. Half the analysis of Mr Goff and Ms Clark and even Mr Beasley and a lot of left leaning ANU academics was consistent with this, but in the case of Mr Goff and Ms Clark what they planned and implemented was as far as possible disarmament of every potentially effective a/s platform- they could tolerate the Anzac frigates as they noisy rough riding and slow and hardly useful as a/s platforms but they downgraded the Orions to operated with sonar or alloy detectors- and new and 3rd hand naval helicopters of the NH90 and Seaprite type a fairly hotwired in RNZAF use and mainly intended to be used for transport and relief work with a bit of surface warfare. Canada in contrast while abandoning its anti submarine helicopter carrier and downsizing its serious forces has continued to develop extremely serious deep water anti submarine frigates and develop plans for serious naval armed patrol ships for northern waters, rather than all eggs in one basket approach of NZ to supply and support tankers
The NZ governments support for TPP has always been a bit of gesture and straw man as they long ago seemed to have prioritised the relationship wtih Xi Chinese military dictatorship without really understanding China's local intent and degree of Pacific military capability and actually under the Key English government seemed to strongly favour a substanital depopulation of talented professional New Zealanders to allow Asian replacement. The Tpp offered huge meat and lamb opportuntiies re the USA, Japan and to a degree Canada- but the Silver Fern sale to Shanghai last year seemed to indicate that available stock was intended to be directed to China first. So the essential disloyalty of the Government/ Government of NZ Nat or Lab and MFAT to international western trade freedom seems masked by the expected general high level backing by NZ institututions and outlets for TPP on paper. At best they saw it as a fall back contigency and very much secondary-

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If what you say is correct Harvey, looking at his Twitter post, Justin appears to have developed a very nasty..... ankle rash

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>"In Canada the feeling is Mr Trudeau is a lot more interested in turning Canada into a nation of feminism and gay Parades, a lot more than signing a trade agreement such as the TPP."

Eh, this is getting to be the usual portrayal of anything on the left, from the run of the mill older generation right commentator. Those who have never quite forgiven women for breaking out of the typing pool in the first place.

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Wonder where all the vitriolic anti TPP protesters are now Labour is pushing this agenda, i recall in May this year when English headed to Japan NZ First, The Greens and Labour rejected the then National government's move.

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They`ve been given the next three years off on full benefits.

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That is only too true.

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Cant you get over the fact that pale stale males lost the election and the next generation of change won!

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The Labour party have always been great about protesting against things, while it opposition. Once in power, that goes out the window, and they are then fine with it. They're so full of it.

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Ardern was looking under pressure and completely confusing the Labour partys recent arrival with New Zealands long time negotiation.

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More fun per $ salary in oppossition

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There is a twist of ironic recklessness dangerourness when our unelected, unqualified, "PM" is negotiating major international trade business deals having never worked a single day in its life (in commerce or business).

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Ignore it folks, this "hoo-haa" is all about politicians not wanting to return home and admit failure.
They will conjure up some sort of claytons win.
Hurts I know, but this time Trump the chump is right.
Bilateral FTAs is the way to go.
But politicians being politicians they do love the group handshaking and photos.

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I tend to agree. All the faux cliffhangers and Canada not attending at the last minute seems a little stage-managed to me. Was always going to be signed and one can only the leverage piled upon our poor inexperienced negotiating team.

Still, unqualified as they are it seems they have got a lot better conditions for NZ than John Key would have who it seems would have just rolled over.

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Hi "stan-doc"? I would like someone to explain the advantages of a multi-nation deal over several comprehensive bilateral deals?
Smaller junkets? no good?

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