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"Senior trade officials from Trans-Pacific Partnership countries will meet May 2-3 in Toronto to continue to map out the future of the pact without U.S. involvement. “Asia-Pacific Ministers instructed senior trade officials to consider potential paths forward to enhance and strengthen free and fair trade throughout the Asia-Pacific region and report back to ministers at APEC in Vietnam in May,” said a Canadian government spokeswoman. Trade ministers from the 11 other TPP nations are set to meet on the sidelines of the APEC ministerial May 20-21 in Hanoi. Japan has now thrown its support behind pursuing a TPP deal without the U.S., which is expected to energize the process for implementing an agreement. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said to Japanese media last week that “the 11-nation framework should be given weight.” Japan was emboldened to move forward with TPP after confirming with the U.S. that Japan’s efforts to advance regional progress “on the basis of existing initiatives” could include reviving the moribund agreement. Senior TPP trade officials met in Chile last month where they made clear they did not want to lose the agreement as a “key driver for regional economic integration and promoter of economic growth, competition, innovation and productivity.” Vice President Mike Pence, during a visit to Japan this week, said TPP "is a thing of the past" for the U.S. "The Trump administration has made a decision and taken steps to formally withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and that will be our policy going forward," he said on Tuesday."

Posted April 20th, 2017
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