No public result from TPP-11 revival meeting: next talks in Australia

Senior trade negotiators from 11 TPP countries, including Australia, met again in Japan on July 11-14 to discuss the options for a version of the TPP without the US. This followed a trade ministers meeting held in May which decided to explore options for a version of the TPP without the US.

As usual, the talks were shrouded in secrecy, and there was no public statement from the meeting, but the Japan Times reported that, despite agreements to proceed, there were still disagreements about what would be included in the text.

Japan, Australia and New Zealand are pushing for removing references to the US but minimal change to the existing text, in the hope that the US would re-join at some future time.

But other governments, like Malaysia and Vietnam, only agreed to parts of the text initiated by the US, like stronger monopolies on biologic medicines, ISDS, restrictions on state-owned enterprises and other provisions in return for market access to the US. It makes no sense to them to accept these unpopular proposals without US market access.

The Japan News reported that a Japanese proposal for creating “a protocol which would bring the existing TPP text into force on a provisional basis” was not agreed.

It was also reported that negotiators have agreed to meet again in Australia in late August or early September, but the details are not public. The aim is to report options for decision at a further Ministerial Meeting on the sidelines of the APEC meeting on November 10-11 in Vietnam.