Pacific Trade Deal Goes Forward Without United States

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern arrives in Vietnam for the APEC Summit in the city of Danang

Now all negotiators, including Canada, say it's "on again", issuing a statement they have agreed to continue negotiating and an agreement on "core elements" had been reached in another meeting later on Friday.

Trump has said he prefers country-to-country deals and is seeking to renegotiate several major trade agreements to, as he says, "put America first".

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said at a press conference in Vietnam that Mr Trudeau would have to be the one to answer as to why he pulled out of a meeting to revive the TPP11.

Flavio Volpe, the president of the Auto Parts Manufacturing Association, said, "We can't be in two boats at once".

The pullout of the United States came as a shock to the other 11 members, given that the Pacific Rim deal was a landmark pillar of Trump's predecessor Barack Obama's policy of a strategic rebalance, or "pivot", to the Asia-Pacific region and had significance not only economically but in security aspects amid the rise of China.

Japan had lobbied hard to proceed with a pact after the US withdrawal that could also help to contain China's growing regional dominance. It said a "limited set of provisions" from the original deal would be suspended. "The overall impact on most firms is quite modest", said Deborah Elms of the Asian Trade Centre think-tank, adding that the new version was "essentially identical to the original document".

The TPP leaders' meeting, initially scheduled for Friday afternoon to endorse and announce the TPP ministerial agreement, was canceled despite Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's push during his meeting with his Canadian counterpart, Justin Trudeau.

Lawrence Herman, a Toronto-based worldwide trade lawyer, said it was "puzzling" to see Canada's reluctance to pursue the TPP with its 10 remaining partners.

Much of the outrage over Canada's sudden outlier status - a position it frequently occupied under the Stephen Harper Conservatives - emanated from Down Under.

"Having lost a bit of a momentum on the back of the decision by the Canadians not to attend the leaders meeting on the TPP 11, we'll have to keep working methodically through it", he told ABC TV on Sunday.

"My most important responsibility is to make sure that is the right deal for Canada and Canadians", Trudeau told the media in Da Nang.

Nafta talks with the United States were not affecting Canada's stance on TPP negotiations, he said.

"Negotiating by calendar, stopwatch or trying to shoehorn announcements into global summits for logistical ease is antithetical to strategic long-term planning and goes against Canadian interests".

It was left to President Xi Jinping of China to champion a multilateralist vision of trade with a speech in the Vietnamese resort city of Danang that described globalisation as an irreversible trend.

"We are still negotiating - this is a very, very complex negotiation", Freeland said.

The statement still refers to free and open trade, but it also refers to fair trade and to members "improving adherence to rules agreed upon".

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.

Later, leaders of the 21 Apec economies agreed to address "unfair trade practices" and called for the removal of "market distorting subsidies", in contrast to communiques they have issued in the past.

Related news: