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Australia Says TPP11 Deal 90 Percent Complete

by Mary Swire,, Hong Kong

14 November 2017

Australian Trade Minister Steven Ciobo has said that there are "the very strong core elements of a deal" on a new Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that does not involve the US.

The deal would be between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

In an interview with ABC, Ciobo described the agreement as "90 percent completed." Ciobo noted that there remain a number of outstanding issues, in particular ones that Canada has raised, and that ministers will "work diligently through those." Ciobo added that he was "confident that we will be able to reach an agreement in the not too distant future."

Ciobo noted that the Canadians had decided not to attend a leaders' meeting on the proposed TPP-11 at the recent APEC ministerial meeting. Ciobo had at the time described this as a "disappointing development."

He said that at one stage an agreement had been reached between the 11 trade ministers, which was then recommended to the countries' respective leaders. Canada's objections led to the cancellation of the planned leaders' meeting.

Ciobo explained that the "main issue" raised by Canada is one relating to "a cultural exception." He said that Canada would like to "carve out elements of their broadcast policy, for example, to allow for French-speaking language."

When pressed as to whether the concerns were reasonable ones for Canada to raise, Ciobo replied that "we can accommodate the various positions that are put forward by people." He stressed that he and his counterparts "all feel that we can accommodate the various little crests that are still outstanding."

TAGS: free trade agreement (FTA) | export duty | trade treaty | Australia | Canada | import duty | trade

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