Japan eyes putting TPP into force without U.S.
Japan Today -- Apr 16
Japan plans to push forward talks to put a Pacific rim trade pact into force without the United States, which withdrew from the multination agreement in January as President Donald Trump pursues bilateral trade deals, a government source said Saturday.

With the China-excluding Trans-Pacific Partnership pact, signed last year to achieve high-level trade liberalization, adrift after the U.S. withdrawal, Japan has become eager to take the lead in making the mega trade deal take effect among the remaining 11 countries, the source said.

The 11 nations are expected to start discussing the issue at a meeting of their chief negotiators in Canada in early May, and at a meeting of their trade ministers in Vietnam late next month on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation gathering.

Tokyo had expressed reluctance to have the TPP come into force without Washington amid concern a TPP is unlikely to provide a tailwind for Japanese exporters, such as automakers, without the United States, the biggest market in the grouping.

But with free trade perceived to be under threat with the rise of protectionism since the launch of the Trump administration, calls have been growing in the government for Tokyo's leadership in keeping the momentum for free trade.

On Saturday, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga indicated Tokyo's readiness to proceed with the TPP implementation while ensuring U.S. understanding, saying in an interview with Kyodo News, "We have a feeling that the 11-nation framework should be given weight."

News source: Japan Today
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