The leaders of the 12 member states of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreed Saturday to step up efforts to implement the free trade agreement in a veiled counter to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump over his protectionist stance.
In a meeting in Lima, the leaders affirmed their intention to advance domestic procedures such as ratification by parliaments of member states so that the U.S.-led TPP can enter into force, according to a senior Japanese official.
Although it is unclear whether the free trade pact will come into force with a new Trump administration, the leaders did not discuss the possibility of implementing the TPP without the participation of the United States, the official said
U.S. President Barack Obama was quoted by the official as saying his administration will continue efforts to win domestic support for the pact, which Trump has vowed to scrap once he takes office in January.
Obama “discussed his support of high-standard trade agreements like TPP, which level the playing field for American workers and advance our interests and values in the economically dynamic and strategically-significant Asia-Pacific region,” the White House said.
Obama “urged his fellow leaders to continue to work together to advance TPP,” it said.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said, “If we stop our domestic procedures, the TPP will be completely dead. It will be impossible for us to curb protectionism,” according to the Japanese official.