(Yomiuri: December 16, 2015 – p. 9)
TPP Minister Akira Amari gave an interview to Yomiuri Shimbun where he revealed that a number of Latin American countries have expressed interest in joining the TPP. He did not name any particular state, explaining that “[discussions] are still taking place behind the scenes, but some countries are considering membership.”
At present, Mexico, Peru, and Chile are the only TPP participants from Latin America.
The 12 TPP nations make up about 40% of the world’s GDP. Amari said: “As the TPP grows bigger, there will be a snowballing of members.” He also indicated that if membership increases steadily, the formation of an economic sphere constituting about half of the world’s GDP will be realized at an early date.
The government estimated in 2013 that the TPP will boost Japan’s GDP by approximately 3 trillion yen. Amari said that new calculations will be made and the results will be announced before the end of 2015. He predicted that “(the estimate) will be higher than the previous one,” indicating that investment and further trade liberalization will produce greater economic effects.
Amari expressed his hope for more countries to join the TPP, stating that “any country that is committed to accepting the common rules and standards under the TPP is welcome to join.” He also remarked that “Japan will actively provide information and advice.”
Amari also denied that the TPP is an encirclement of China, stressing that Japan has no intention to isolate China, which has distanced itself from the TPP. (Slightly abridged)