Eleven remaining members met recently in Chile to identify a way forward without the US.
The eleven remaining members said after a meeting on March 15 that they had discussed “a way forward that would advance economic integration in the Asia-Pacific,” but did not elaborate on what that path might be.
The TPP was effectively torpedoed in its current form when US President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the trade pact in January, which originally covered some 40% of global GDP.
Remaining members met for the first time since then on March 15, at Chile’s behest, to try to thrash out a way forward.
“The partners reiterated their firm commitment to collaborate in keeping markets open and to the free flow of goods, services and investment,” the countries said in a joint statement after the meeting.
Representatives “canvassed views on a way forward that would advance economic integration in the Asia-Pacific” and trade officials will talk in the coming weeks and ministers will meet again in May at the APEC gathering in Vietnam.
“The ministers have decided to continue with the process of consultations to preserve what is important - the substance of the accord,” Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Munoz told the media after the meeting.
Studies have shown that if the TPP is implemented, Vietnam would be the biggest beneficiary.
Vietnamese exporters would have had greater access to larger, dynamic, and fast-growing TPP markets.
Additionally, the TPP would have improved Vietnam’s competitiveness on the global market by solidifying its participation in lucrative trading blocs.
It was estimated that, by 2030, the TPP would have added 10% to Vietnam’s GDP growth and boosted exports by 30%.
Even if the TPP does not come into effect, however, the negotiation and signing of the FTA still benefits Vietnam in several ways.
First, the TPP provided momentum for domestic reforms in both economic structure and legislation.
Many pieces of legislation have been put on the agenda of the National Assembly to bring domestic law into conformity with the requirements of the TPP.
For example, new laws on foreign trade and promoting small and medium-sized enterprises are being drafted, and the Labor Code and other regulations on business conditions are being revised.
These bills are scheduled to be adopted within the next two years before the TPP was due to take effect.
Second, the TPP provided an incentive to improve the competitiveness of enterprises.
Many enterprises of Vietnam’s key export industries such as textiles and garments, footwear, seafood, wooden furniture, and agricultural products have already been preparing themselves for the implementation of the TPP.
This preparation will improve their competitiveness even if the TPP never takes effect.
Third, the TPP raised awareness among State officials, employers, trade unions, workers, and the public about Vietnam’s economic integration strategy as well as the implications of free trade agreements.
There have been campaigns launched to disseminate information on the TPP among government officials, businesses, and trade unions.
At the same time, Vietnamese scholars have conducted on a lot of research on the TPP.