TOKYO — Japan is willing to host a chief negotiators’ meeting of the newly signed 11-member Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact in June or July, a minister in charge of the pact said Friday.
Toshimitsu Motegi told a press conference the planned meeting will confirm progress in each country’s domestic procedures to bring the deal into force as well as discuss a response to other nations and regions interested in joining the framework.
Japan and the 10 other countries taking part in the deal, renamed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership after the United States withdrew from the original accord, aim to put it into force possibly by the end of this year.
The pact, signed in Chile last month, covers 13 percent of the world’s gross domestic product and a population of some 500 million. The agreement will enter into force 60 days after at least six countries complete domestic procedures.
Motegi said he believes the treaty’s entry into force with the 11 members is a top priority but pointed to “the need to share recognition” on the possibility of additional partners joining the agreement.
The 10 other CPTPP members are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand and Britain have reportedly shown interest in joining the framework.
Since Trump pulled the United States from the trade accord pushed by his predecessor Barack Obama in January 2017, Japan, the largest economy among the remaining 11 countries, has led the way in working toward the revised version of the deal and finalizing negotiations in January this year.