TPP members want 2019 launch
NHK -- Jul 20
Negotiators for the 11 signatories to the Trans-Pacific Partnership have agreed to work toward launching the free trade pact early next year. They also assented to preparing for future membership expansion.

The agreement was reached at a 2-day gathering in Hakone, west of Tokyo, which ended on Thursday. Chief negotiators from Japan and 10 other nations met for the first time since the pact was signed in March.

As US President Donald Trump's increases protectionist moves, the negotiators shared the urgency of implementing the TPP, which embraces high-level free trade. They recognized necessary domestic procedures should be completed as soon as possible.

The negotiators also agreed to promote preparations for membership expansion after the pact goes into effect.

They will deliver information on the free trade deal to countries and territories that show interest in joining the pact. Thailand, Colombia, and Britain are a few of the countries that have.

A senior Japanese government official said every nation has been pressing ahead with their domestic procedures, so the pact is likely to be launched early next year.

The official said he hopes to have another meeting of chief negotiators by the end of this year.

News source: NHK
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