Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday his government maintains its aim of winning ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, although U.S. President-elect Donald Trump renewed his pledge this week to take his country out of the multilateral free trade deal.
“The TPP is in a tough situation” after Trump again expressed his intention on Monday to exit from the agreement, Abe said at a meeting of the special committee on the TPP of the House of Councillors.
“To highlight the significance of the TPP for creating a free and fair trade bloc, I still believe that Japan should lead efforts by countries to ratify it,” Abe said.
Referring to his meeting with Trump held in New York on Nov. 17, Abe said that he and the U.S. president-elect discussed a broad range of issues, including trade policies. But the prime minister stopped short of revealing details of his talks with Trump.
Renho, leader of the main opposition Democratic Party, asked why the Abe government is rushing to win ratification of the TPP, although Trump has signaled his determination to withdraw the United States from the trade pact, signed in February by Japan, the United States and 10 other countries.
As the TPP needs to be ratified by at least six of the 12 countries that account for 85 percent or more of their combined gross domestic product, approval from Japan and the United States is indispensable for putting the TPP into force.