TOKYO: Eleven Asia-Pacific nations on Tuesday agreed to move toward signing a massive trade deal, Japanese officials said, after they revived it following the pullout of the United States.
“A statement of agreement by the TPP 11 has finally been sealed and the 11 countries agreed to go ahead with preparations for signing it,” Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told reporters after a meeting of officials in Tokyo.
“It is epoch-making for our country and the future of the Asia-Pacific region,” Motegi added.
The agreement came following a two-day meeting of the chief negotiators of the 11 Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) nations in Tokyo.
The 11 members will work towards signing the final accord “by early March,” a statement said.
The agreement would incorporate all commitments from the original TPP, except for a limited number of provisions suspended temporarily, and some remaining issues to be finalised.
“At the Tokyo round, senior officials resolved these outstanding issues, finalised the list of suspended provisions, and completed the legal verification of the agreement,” according to the statement.
US President Donald Trump abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership in January last year calling it a “job killer” and throwing the pact’s future into doubt.
The deal covered 40 percent of the world economy before the US withdrawal and – with its notable exclusion of China – was intended to counter Beijing’s economic prowess in the region.
Several remaining members, however, pushed hard for its revival following the US withdrawal, notably New Zealand and Japan.