Japanese Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said on Friday that countries including Canada had now agreed on a plan to move ahead with the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, but Canadian officials did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
Following Canada's unexpected last-minute objection, another round of ministerial meetings was held late Friday to reconfirm "the agreement in principle" on the TPP among ministers from the 11 countries including Canada, Motegi said.
Instead they found Japan's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, holding crisis meetings with Canada's Justin Trudeau over an undisclosed issue.
"We obviously had lots to talk about and at the end of that meeting it became clear that it was in everyone's interest to postpone the leaders' meeting on the TPP11", Trudeau said Saturday.
Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker said that on Thursday night it had appeared all Canada's issues had been resolved to its satisfaction.
Mr Trudeau is yet to explain why he got "cold feet", with some suspicion that upcoming elections in industrial Quebec may have contributed to his last minute hesitation to support the TPP.
After U.S. President Donald Trump pulled the world's biggest economy from the TPP, Japan had been eager to clinch an accord at the APEC summit, with the remaining 11 signatories sharing the goal of an early implementation of the pact.
One of Mr Trump's first official acts after inauguration was to formally withdraw from negotiations on the partnership, citing it as an example of "trade deals that put the interests of insiders and the Washington elite over the hard-working men and women of this country".
The ministers have assigned chief negotiators to continue to work on contentious technical issues and conduct legal reviews in preparation for the signing of the pact, Anh said.
Japan had lobbied hard to proceed with a pact that could also help to contain China's growing regional dominance, ahead of talks in the Vietnamese resort of Danang this week alongside Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings.
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The agreement will now be called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), says a statement released today.
Trudeau said Saturday in Vietnam that despite some significant progress on the deal's framework there's still more work to be done, particularly when it comes to protecting Canada's auto and cultural sectors.
Earlier, Mr Trump effectively slammed the door shut on any hope of America rejoining the TPP negotiations during his address to the APEC summit.
The TPP countries agreed Friday to suspend controversial provisions from the original TPP deal related to intellectual property.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says talks have effectively collapsed in Vietnam.
"The Canadian prime minister is clearly equivocating and that is deeply disappointing.as is the position that the United States took under President Trump".
"We are not going to let the United States be taken advantage of anymore", he said. China is not part of the TPP. It cut into the planned TPP leaders' meeting and kept the other leaders waiting for them in the room.
"We are still negotiating - this is a very, very complex negotiation", Freeland said.
On Sunday, Trudeau will attend the ASEAN summit of 10 Southeast Asian leaders in Manila, hosted by President Rodgrigo Duterte, who has faced harsh worldwide criticism for his human rights record.