• Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will travel to Vietnam for the APEC leaders' summit. (AAP)
Ministers at the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation leaders' summit are trying to reach agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Source:
AAP
9 Nov - 10:32 PM 

Talks on pushing ahead the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal without the United States reached a critical point on Thursday as ministers from the 11 countries discussed a proposed agreement in principle.

Meetings over the TPP, ditched by US President Donald Trump in one of his first acts in office, have been held on the sidelines of Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings in the Vietnamese resort of Danang.

While Japan has been lobbying hard for a quick agreement to move ahead, Canada, New Zealand and Malaysia are among countries that have appeared less enthusiastic to hurry.

Australian Trade Minister Steven Ciobo says things are progressing.

"We've got more work to do, but we are inching closer to an agreement so I remain very hopeful," he said.

Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said talks were "very productive".

Mexico's position, like that of Canada, is complicated by the fact that it is also renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the Trump administration.

"The negotiation is proceeding but it has not yet been finalised," New Zealand Trade Minister David Parker said.

"There are many countries that want to achieve finality this week, but it's not yet clear whether consensus can be achieved."

Parker added that the 11 countries were discussing suspension of certain provisions of TPP in order to proceed with the trade deal, but no agreement had been reached.

"One of the ambitions of some of the TPP countries is to leave open the possibility that the United States could join later if they wanted to and some of the terms are being constructed in a way that assists that rather than hinders that," Parker said.

Japanese Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said negotiators had tried to reach a conclusion satisfactory to all, "or put in a different way, a conclusion that makes everybody equally unhappy".

The TPP aims to eliminate tariffs on industrial and farm products across a bloc whose trade totalled $356 billion last year. It also has provisions for protecting everything from labour rights to the environment to intellectual property.