U.S. trade representative says United States won't return to Trans-Pacific Partnership

Turmoil over global trade negotiations was laid bare at a meeting of Asia-Pacific Cooperation (Apec) countries, which failed to agree on the usual joint statement after U.S. opposition to wording on free trade and fighting protectionism.

That's because Australia already has access to the United States under its existing bilateral free trade agreement while a number of other TPP member countries will not have preferential access to the USA market.

New Zealand's trade minister, Todd McClay, told reporters that the TPP 11 "are committed to finding a way forward to deliver" the pact.

"We are here today to help push the negotiations forward by inserting the political will to break the remaining challenges", he said. That has raised further questions about the viability of the deal, with a deadline of November for leaders to decide how to proceed.

Mr Clare has previously said: "It's over". Officials from other countries echoed similar sticking points with the United States. "We have time and the desire to work in detail to see what it should look like".

In another sign of the changed environment, officials said the United States was at odds with other APEC members over the contents of a statement due to follow the meeting on Sunday.

Spearheaded by then US President Barack Obama, the far-reaching TPP - which notably excludes China - would have rewritten the rules of 21st century trade.

Plus, even though the pact is seriously weakened without the huge U.S. market, it does still allow smaller economies like Vietnam greater access to big economies such as Japan's.

Mr Mustapa added that if the remaining countries went ahead, the pact should be renegotiated.

China's Commerce Minister Zhong Shan (L) and Deputy Minister Wang Shouwen (R) attend the 3rd Inter-sessional Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Ministerial Meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam May 22, 2017.

Under the original terms of the TPP, the pact had to be ratified by six countries that account for a combined 85 percent of signatories' GDP. The US made up about 60%.

Although the TPP members kept the trade agreement alive, they fell short of a commitment to quickly move ahead with a strategy to temper China's influence.

"Each country will have to have a different approach", he said.

The meeting reaffirmed the balanced outcome and the strategic and economic significance of the TPP and highlighted its principles and high standards as a way to promote regional economic integration and contribute positively to the economic growth prospects of its member countries.

Member nations Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Malaysia, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam met in Hanoi over the weekend to discuss how to proceed following the United States' withdrawal.

"The US could come back to TPP if there's a TPP operating, and if it remains basically unchanged from the one that the US negotiated".

Japan and Australia have called for "high-level" rules.

  • Zachary Reyes