DA NANG, Vietnam — Toshimitsu Motegi, minister in charge of economic revitalization, and Vietnamese trade minister Tran Tuan Anh, cochairs of the ministerial meeting of 11 member countries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact, officially announced the conclusion of a broad agreement on a new trade deal that excludes the United States on Saturday morning.
The 11 members canceled a meeting of the nations’ leaders that had been postponed due to Canada’s opposition to the content of the broad agreement.
However, based on the results of the ministerial meeting, each member country will begin procedures for the final agreement.
At a press conference, Motegi expressed a high opinion of the broad agreement, saying: “All the ministers agreed [to it]. The content is of a high level and well balanced.”
Motegi added, “The TPP will go into effect 60 days after six out of the 11 countries finish their domestic procedures.”
The Vietnamese minister also welcomed the outcome, saying that an important agreement had been reached, and that the broad agreement, which is comprehensive and maintains the high-level content of the TPP pact, would serve the interests of each member nation.
Under the broad agreement, 20 items are to be frozen until the United States returns to the trade deal, out of which 11 concern intellectual property.
The 11 countries were initially scheduled to hold a meeting of the nations’ leaders on Friday afternoon to confirm their broad agreement on the new trade deal that excludes the United States.
However, immediately before the leaders’ meeting, Canada asserted that it was “not yet at the stage where leaders can confirm the agreement” reached among ministers on Thursday night. As a result, the meeting of leaders was postponed.
Afterward, ministers of the 11 member countries again reached a consensus on the content of their broad agreement and a joint statement, among other items.
Canadian Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne on Saturday tweeted that major progress had been made.
The 11 countries now plan to examine whether the broad agreement is consistent with their domestic laws, and solidify the written agreement.
The nations are expected to sign the pact and begin necessary domestic procedures to put it into effect, including endorsement by their parliaments. They aim for it to take effect as early as 2019.
However, in addition to Canada, New Zealand’s newly launched administration is also cautious about the TPP. It remains to be seen whether the nations’ domestic procedures will progress smoothly.