TOKYO – As trade officials gather in Tokyo this week to try and forge ahead with a trade pact that U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned last year, the new 11-member club risks getting bogged down by resistance from Canada.
The member countries of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTTP), also known as TPP 11, reached a basic agreement on the pact in November.
But Canada is holding out to secure protection of its cultural industries, like movies, TV, and music, and has said it will not be rushed into signing a deal that other members hope to conclude by March.
That is casting a shadow over a meeting of trade officials from member countries this week in Tokyo and is raising questions about the economic benefits of a pact that doesn’t bring Canada into the fold.
“The overall economic impact of the CPTPP would be significantly further eroded if Canada, which is a Group of Seven nation, decides to postpone its decision about joining,” said Rajiv Biswas, Asia-Pacific chief economist at IHS Markit.
After Trump pulled the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement last year, Japan took a leading role in pushing for a replacement pact.
Along with Australia and Mexico, Tokyo has lobbied hard for the agreement, which aims to eliminate trading barriers and tariffs on industrial and farm products across the 11-nation bloc whose trade totaled $356 billion in 2016.
“Our strong preference is for all 11 countries to join the first wave, but our focus is on bringing a new TPP agreement into force as soon as possible with those who are ready to move,” Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in Tokyo last week.
The talks in Tokyo starting Monday are expected to iron out technical differences on rules for the treatment of labor and intellectual property but unlikely to yield a conclusive statement that member countries will quickly sign the pact.
Canada, which would be the second-biggest economy in the bloc after Japan, is also unhappy over the rules of origin for cars.
“Like Vietnam, one of the crucial elements we secured was what is known as a work plan, a mechanism to deal with outstanding issues, which for Canada includes ensuring the deal provides better access and terms for autos and does not affect our unique cultural sensitivities,” Joseph Pickerill, spokesman for Canadian Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, said in a statement.
Vietnam has emerged as another swing country because of its resistance to rules that would improve rights for its workforce, although Hanoi hasn’t shown resistance to sign the pact.
“Canada has taken a step back to say they cannot sign TPP 11 right away, but there are expectations that if the remaining 10 countries move ahead Canada will eventually come back,” said Junichi Sugawara, senior research officer at Mizuho Research Institute.
Reporting by Stanley White and Kaori Kaneko; Additional reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa;
Irish Pm Calls For Urgent Restoration Of Northern Ireland Government
DUBLIN – Ireland’s Prime Minister called for the urgent restoration of Northern Ireland’s power-sharing government on Monday after talks to end a year-long political stalemate broke down yet again last week.
Both the British and Irish governments have said they want to get the talks back on track but neither have suggested when Irish nationalists Sinn Fein and the pro-British Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) should return to the negotiating table.
The British province has been without a devolved executive for over a year since Sinn Fein withdrew from the compulsory coalition with their arch-rivals that has been central to a 1998 peace deal that ended three decades of violence there.
“The (Irish) government will continue to engage with the parties in Northern Ireland and the British government to support the urgent formation of a new executive,” Varadkar said in a statement after meeting with Sinn Fein and speaking to British Prime Minister Theresa May by phone.
Before meeting Varadkar, Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald said there should be no delay in resuming talks that she and both governments believe were close to a successful outcome before the DUP pulled out over a disagreement on additional rights for Irish-language speakers.
DUP leader Arlene Foster reiterated her call for London to take further financial control of the region, saying her party remained committed to devolution “but not at any price”.
Britain has already had to take steps toward governing the region directly for the first time in a decade and many fear a return to full British direct rule would further destabilize a delicate balance between nationalists and unionists.
Britain has said it is absolutely committed to restoring the power-sharing administration and Varadkar repeated on Monday that his government did not want to see the introduction of direct rule across the border.
Reporting by Padraic Halpin;
Sylvester Stallone Dead Hoax – Rocky Actor Tells Fans He’s ‘alive And Well’ After Rumours Of His Death Sweep Social Media
SYLVESTER STALLONE has put the bizarre rumour he is dead to bed as he tweeted declaring he is “still punching” this evening.
The Rocky star told fans to “ignore this stupidity” and confirmed he is “alive and well” after the rumour swept the internet.
The actor confirmed to fans he is still alive after a rumour of his death took off today
He added: “Remember to always grab LIFE by the throat and do not let go until you succeed.”
This isn’t the first time he has had to bat of rumours of an early demise – Facebook users reported seeing a fraudulent message in September 2016 claiming Stallone had been found dead at his LA home.
It was later exposed as a hoax after it emerged it was linked to a website known for creating and sharing celebrity death hoaxes.
But the rumour has now returned to social media a year-and-a-half later.
He added on an inspirational message as he said he is still ‘alive and well’
AP:Associated Press Wild online rumours are claiming Sylvester Stallone is dead again
The return of the hoax appeared to have been sparked by him sharing a fan poster for Creed II – the next instalment in the Rocky film series.
After seeing Sly’s face on the advert, some people on social media – still convinced that he was dead from the last hoax – reacted with confusion.
RIP messages began to circulate online, with some claiming Sly had died from prostate cancer.
The rumour was fuelled by fake news articles being shared online
Twitter users were seen asking each other if the Rocky star had really passed away as the Chinese whispers spread like wildfire.
One wrote: “Is Sylvester Stallone dead or is Facebook lying again?”
Another wrote: “Omg I thought Sylvester Stallone was dead!! I hate the Internet”
Starving Lion Chews Off Its Own Tail In Hellhole Chinese Zoo
A STARVING lion was forced to chew off its own tail after it froze in a Chinese zoo’s water hole.
Tourists visiting Taiyuan Zoo, in Shanxi Province, during the Lunar New Year holidays spotted the malnourished animal pacing around in circles.
A starving lion in Taiyuan Zoo, in Shanxi Province, is believed to have chewed off its own tail
The emaciated beast was kept inside the cage with a lioness who looked equally hungry.
Visitors accused the zoo of abuse and demanded to know why the lion was missing half of its tail.
A Taiyuan Zoo spokesman explained that the lion fell asleep with its tail inside an artificial drinking hole, which frozen in the cold temperatures.
The tail suffered tissue damage and bled, so the lion “bit it off”, the spokesman added.
AsiaWire Visitors became deeply concerned when they saw the emaciated lion pacing around its room
The staff member said employees discovered the injury and the lion was put on a course of medication to help stop its bleeding.
However, the zoo did not respond to accusations that the two lions were underfed and malnourished.
Social media users on China’s Twitter-like microblogging service Sina Weibo said the lions looked “depressed”, pacing around their tiny enclosure.
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