14 nations start talks in Chile on replacing or redesigning TPP trade deal

VINA DEL MAR, CHILE – Ministers and officials representing the 12 countries of the failed Trans-Pacific Partnership, plus China and South Korea, began talks toward a new pact in Chile on Tuesday, but any decision on how it might look seemed far off.

The TPP, which would have included about 40 percent of the world’s gross domestic product, was effectively torpedoed after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the agreement in January.

Chile, a keen promoter of free trade and one of the signatories of the original agreement, invited TPP representatives to the coastal city of Vina del Mar to try to thrash out a way forward.

But officials said the conversation is just the beginning of a long and uncertain road.

“We see this as an opportunity to have a frank round-the-table conversation to gauge where each of the countries are and then to work out how we might consider what next steps there may be, if there are any,” New Zealand Trade Minister Todd McClay said in an interview on the sidelines of the conference. “I’m not coming here…