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個國家已更加接近就如下努力達成協議：在美國退出的情況下推進《跨太平洋夥伴關係協定》（Trans-Pacific Partnership，簡稱TPP）。這個跡象顯示太平洋地區經濟體決心在全球化道路上走下去，不受唐納德•特朗普(Donald Trump)的阻礙。
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個國家能夠達成部長級協議，」日本內閣府特命擔當大臣（經濟財政政策）茂木敏充周四晚在結束與其他國家部長們的會議後對記者們表示。據路透社(Reuters)報導，墨西哥經濟部長伊爾德方索•瓜哈爾多•比利亞雷亞爾(Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal)也向記者們證實，各方已經達成協議。
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.