Top officials from 11 Pacific Rim countries said they had reached an arrangement for a trade agreement — one that does not involve the U.S., a new report says.
Trade officials from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam have agreed on the “core elements” of a trade deal during a meeting in Vietnam, the Associated Press reported Friday. Last-minute disagreements dashed hopes that the deal would be formally endorsed on Friday.
“Ministers are pleased to announce that they have agreed on the core elements of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership,” the 11 nations said in a statement.
Although the U.S., along with those countries, signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership in 2016, President Trump announced a withdrawal from the deal in January after he was inaugurated.
The officials said they tried to maintain “the high standards, overall balance and integrity of the TPP while ensuring the commercial and other interests of all participants and preserving our inherent right to regulate, including the flexibility of the parties to set legislative and regulatory priorities.”
Trump criticized the agreement during his campaign and said he would remove the U.S. from the agreement. Upon withdrawing, Trump said abstaining from the deal was “a great thing for the American worker."
Not all Republicans backed Trump’s decision. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said withdrawing was a “serious mistake.”
Democratic presidential candidates in 2016, Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., also opposed the trade agreement, which was a hallmark trade initiative of the Obama administration.
Trump is attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting as part of a two-week tour through Asia. Trump is also scheduled to attend a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in the Philippines during the trip.