TOKYO — Japan completed domestic procedures Friday for the ratification of the 11-member Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade accord without the United States, becoming the second member to do so after Mexico.
The completion, which was notified to New Zealand, the depository of the accord, means four more countries need to finish their domestic processes for the pact to take effect.
The TPP, formally called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, will cover around 13 percent of the world’s economy and about 15 percent of global trade in value terms.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to sign a free trade agreement between Japan and the European Union next week, signaling Tokyo’s determination to promote free trade.
“The TPP aims to establish rules for the 21st century that are free and fair,” Toshimitsu Motegi, state minister in charge of the pact, told reporters.
Motegi expressed hope that Japan’s completion will have a “good impact” on other member countries so the TPP can come into force early next year, amid worries about rising protectionism.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s move to impose higher tariffs on Chinese goods and Beijing’s retaliatory action have amplified fears of trade friction and raised concern about global economic activity.
Following the abrupt pullout of the United States in January 2017, the remaining members signed the current TPP in March this year.
When the pact takes effect, consumers will gain access to cheaper food and other products due to the lowering of tariffs. But domestic farmers are worried they will be hurt by a greater volume of imports.
Japan’s economy will likely get an 8 trillion yen ($72.28 billion) boost from the TPP even as agricultural and sea produce may see an up to 150 billion yen worth of negative impact, according to the government estimates.
The Diet has enacted legislation to provide support for Japanese livestock farmers who will be exposed to foreign competition and to extend intellectual property rights in line with the TPP.
The 11 TPP members are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Colombia and Thailand are among countries seen as interested in joining the TPP.