A trade pact between Australia and 10 other nations has been salvaged, with Canada returning to the negotiating table after boycotting talks at the last minute.
The 11-nation deal was thrown into limbo on Friday after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau snubbed a leader’s meeting and raised a raft of unforeseen issues.
But negotiators from all countries involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, including Canada, held further talks on Friday night.
The 11 countries involved in the have reportedly agreed to core elements of a deal, while several provisions contained in the pact still need to be ironed out.
Australian officials remain tight-lipped on the progress, but New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the so-called TPP-11 were no longer talking about countries walking away from the deal.
“It would be fair to say that there is still a little bit of clarification required around where those talks have finally landed,” Ms Ardern told reporters at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam on Saturday.
“But there is a view that things are being bought together, but there remains a bit of a work in progress.”
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull hoped to seal the mega trade deal while in Vietnam.
The 11 nations involved had worked in overdrive to resurrect the trade deal this week, which first fell apart after Donald Trump withdrew the United States.
Australia, Japan and other countries pushing hard to get the deal over the line were furious with Mr Trudeau’s no-show on Friday evening.
New Zealand Trade Minister David Parker said the nation’s had returned to a position where the text of the deal was “stabilised”.
“In that sense there is a legal agreement in respect of just about all of it,” Mr Parker said.
“The ‘just about’ could be important; there are four provisions of the TPP which are suspended. Although progress has been made clarifying those issues, there is still more work to be done to bring them to a finality.”
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 US president said he was willing to strike trade deals with Pacific nations, but only on a country-to-country basis.
Australia will still walk away from the summit with a free trade pact with Peru that will eliminate nearly all tariffs exporters face into the Latin American country.
The Peru agreement is a significant boost for Australia’s sugar industry, farmers and mining services firms.