The 11 remaining countries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership met on the sidelines of Asia Pacific trade talks in Chile yesterday to discuss the future of the TPP now that the U.S. has withdrawn.
“The participating partners reiterated their firm commitment to collaborate in keeping markets open and to the free flow of goods, services and investment advancing regional economic integration and strengthening the rules-based international trading system noting our concern with protectionism in many parts of the world,” said the participating countries in a joint statement that lacked much detail.
China, South Korea and Colombia were also in Vina del Mar, Chile for what was dubbed the “High Level Dialogue on Integration Initiatives for the Asia Pacific.”
“Around the table, the word ‘progressive’ appears more and more… it is becoming part of what people would consider as a base in order to progress,” Canada’s new trade minister, Francois-Philippe Champagne, told Reuters.
The Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance, which represents 40 export-oriented producer and industry organizations, urged the trade minister to push to implement market access gains made in the TPP, calling the meeting in Chile “a perfect time for Canada to quickly revive the partnership’s framework as a basis for a new agreement, shining a light on the benefits of regional free trade” in a letter earlier this week (read it here.)
Senior trade representatives from the remaining TPP signatories will continue to meet in preparation for a ministerial meeting on at the APEC trade ministers meeting May 20-21.
Related (interview with Canada’s lead negotiator for the TPP): China, TPP & NAFTA: Top Canadian Negotiator Discusses Busy Trade Agenda