Japan and some other Pacific nations are preparing to discuss in Vietnam next month the possibility of going ahead with the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact without the United States, Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said in New York on Wednesday.
“Discussion of going ahead with an 11-party TPP will come up in May,” Aso said during a question session at a lecture.
A ministerial meeting of TPP signatories is expected to take place alongside the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam late next month.
“There are other parties in that discussion, so I don’t know the way in which it might come together,” Aso said.
While the U.S. withdrawal from the TPP in January has sapped the pact’s power, it still offers economic benefits for Japan. It also holds the strategic importance of setting regional rules that could affect how nonsignatories like China work out future agreements.
The TPP can only take effect in its current form if it is ratified by at least six members representing 85 percent of the combined gross domestic product of the original 12 signatories. The agreed pact is effectively dead with the withdrawal of the United States as it accounts for 60 percent of the group’s total GDP alone.