The 12 countries that signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact earlier this year agreed Monday they will not renegotiate the deal, Japanese TPP minister Nobuteru Ishihara said.
The minister also told reporters that the 12 nations confirmed they will move ahead with domestic processes quickly toward the implementation of the U.S.-led trade agreement.
Ishihara’s remarks came after he joined a meeting with ambassadors and other representatives of 11 countries about the trade matter, held at the official residence of U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy in Tokyo.
The gathering was held amid growing speculation that the TPP will not take effect despite the signing in February, as candidates for the U.S. president — Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton — have both criticized the pact.
At the outset of the meeting, Kennedy said U.S. President Barack Obama has pledged to make efforts to get Congress’s endorsement of the TPP by the end of this year, according to the Japanese Cabinet Office.
Ishihara told reporters after the gathering that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government will work to achieve an early ratification of the free trade pact at the upcoming extraordinary Diet session expected to be convened Sept. 26.
Japan’s participation in the TPP is a cornerstone of Abe’s economic growth strategy, one of the three pillars of his “Abenomics” policy mix, designed to bolster the nation’s export-driven economy.
Covering about 40 percent of the global economy, the TPP groups Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.