Japan and 10 other countries were moving closer to a deal on pushing ahead with the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact without the US, in a sign of how Pacific Rim economies are moving on with globalisation despite resistance from Donald Trump.
日本和另外10个国家已更加接近就如下努力达成协议：在美国退出的情况下推进《跨太平洋伙伴关系协定》（Trans-Pacific Partnership，简称TPP）。这个迹象显示太平洋地区经济体决心在全球化道路上走下去，不受唐纳德•特朗普(Donald Trump)的阻碍。
Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe was expected to join leaders from other TPP countries including Australia, Canada, Chile, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam on Friday in declaring their commitment to the pact on the sidelines of a regional summit that Mr Trump is attending.
But chief negotiators were continuing to hash out the details late into the night in the Vietnamese beach resort of Da Nang with ministers from leading countries offering conflicting assessments of their progress.
“The 11 nations were able to reach a ministerial agreement,” Toshimitsu Motegi, Japan’s economy minister, told reporters after talks with his fellow ministers ended in Da Nang late on Thursday. Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal, Mexico’s economy minister, also confirmed to reporters that a deal had been struck, according to Reuters.
“11个国家能够达成部长级协议，”日本内阁府特命担当大臣（经济财政政策）茂木敏充周四晚在结束与其他国家部长们的会议后对记者们表示。据路透社(Reuters)报道，墨西哥经济部长伊尔德方索•瓜哈尔多•比利亚雷亚尔(Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal)也向记者们证实，各方已经达成协议。
But after reports of a deal emerged, Francois-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s trade minister, turned to social media to declare that an agreement had yet to be concluded. “Despite reports, there is no agreement in principle on TPP,” he tweeted.
According to people close to the talks, a final text was still being worked on, with issues including labour rules under discussion.
Some people briefed on the discussions told the Financial Times that any announcement by leaders on Friday may be an “agreement in principle”, with a few details still to be worked out. The remaining countries in the TPP have been tussling for months over how to suspend certain provisions that the US had insisted on without having to renegotiate a deal that took years to hash out.
But any announcement on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Da Nang would highlight the diverging paths on trade in the region and the growing isolation of the US, which is not part of any of the major regional trade initiatives being discussed.
Mr Trump pulled the US out of the TPP in January, on his first full working day in office, after lambasting it on the presidential campaign trail. But the move has been widely criticised in Washington and around the region as a strategic gift to China, which is at the centre of another regional agreement now being negotiated.
Barack Obama, Mr Trump’s predecessor, made the TPP the economic backbone of his “pivot” to Asia strategy and argued that in solidifying trade ties with countries such as Japan, Singapore and Vietnam it would mark a vital part of the long-term response to a rising China.
In a speech on Friday at a business conference being held alongside the Apec summit, Mr Trump is due to lay out in greater detail his White House’s “Indo-Pacific” strategy for engaging the region economically.
But during a trip to the region this week Mr Trump has failed to convince allies such as Japan to launch negotiations to reach new bilateral trade pacts, which the president has insisted would be a better alternative for the US.