Mexico and 10 Asia-Pacific countries lay the foundations of a trade agreement without the US

By Elliot Bullman

The so-called TTP-11 includes countries such as Canada, Chile, Japan and New Zealand.

Eleven countries of the Asia-Pacific region sat down this weekend to formalise the basis of an ambitious commercial treaty in which the United States will not take part, after Donald Trump decided to withdraw at the beginning of the year.

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The new agreement, first known t as TPP will now be called the TP-11, Comprehensive Trans-Pacific and Progressive Agreement (CPTPP).

This Saturday, in the framework of the Asia-Pacific Economic Forum (APEC), Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru and Vietnam went ahead with the negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Economic Cooperation Agreement.

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"The ministers of commerce are pleased to announce an agreement on the central elements" of the text, the representatives of the eleven countries indicated this Saturday in a joint statement.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said at a press conference that progress was made and agreements were reached in order to be able to move forward on this issue.

For his part, the Minister of Commerce of Japan, Toshimitsu Motegi, one of the countries most interested in not letting the TPP die, said that the agreement "will send a very strong positive message to the United States and other countries in the Asia-Pacific region."

Intense negotiations

In the last days of intense negotiations in Danang, marked by denials and contradictory statements, it seems that the demands of Canada prevented an agreement that seemed imminent.

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Canada demands that the treaty include not only commercial aspects such as the reduction of tariffs but also wants all the members to respect the environment and guarantee decent working conditions, aspects that were not traditionally part of commercial treaties.

Mexico wants to diversify its economy

The TPP-11 is crucial for Mexico, which is eager to diversify its trade to avoid such dependence on the United States, with whom it is currently negotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) , along with Canada.

"We cannot be subject to the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), we must be on all tracks," said Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo.

Guajardo

Despite the differences with the United States, Peña Nieto said that everyone, including the president of the United States, Donald Trump, "openly pronounce ourselves to promote free trade, obviously with the corresponding nuances and conditions."

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