TPP remains largely unchanged in attempt to lure back U.S., Japanese official says
Japan Times -- Feb 22
While President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership initially put the deal on life support in January 2017, details released Wednesday revealed that the remaining 11 countries have managed to agree on terms close to the agreement’s original form.

Japanese diplomats, thrust into a new role as lead negotiators, worked to keep the deal largely unchanged except for key provisions which could eventually be reinstated to lure the United States back to the deal, and to potentially re-engage the Trump administration in the Asia-Pacific region.

“One of the main reasons to keep the differences between the original TPP-12 and TPP-11 to a minimum is to induce the U.S. to come back to the deal,” said Kazuyoshi Umemoto, Japan’s chief TPP negotiator, during a news conference in Tokyo on Tuesday. “Although Japan is a trading nation, and we favored trade liberalization in general, we always had to be on the defensive side. But for the first time with TPP-11, we were able to take the lead.”

In total, the new agreement removes 22 items, many of which were specifically pushed for by the United States.

“Formally speaking the 22 amendments are suspended, but the TPP is a progressive agreement. That is why in addition to having new member economies, a change to the TPP agreement would not be impossible,” said Kenichi Kawasaki, a professor and senior fellow at the Tokyo-based National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, who previously wrote an economic analysis of the original deal.

While U.S. participation in the trade pact remains improbable in the short term, during his January visit to Davos, Trump indicated an openness to rejoining the deal and on Friday, 25 senators pressed the president to re-engage on negotiations, according to The Washington Post.

News source: Japan Times
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