An idea has emerged that the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact can take effect among at least five nations such as Japan, Australia and New Zealand, negotiations sources said Wednesday.
The idea cropped up as the 11 states involved discussed what to do with the pact, from which the United States withdrew earlier this year after President Donald Trump took office, the sources told Kyodo News.
At the just-finished two-day meeting of top negotiators from the 11 parties, Tokyo argued for making the TPP take effect without the United States at an early date by tweaking the original agreement only slightly, they said.
But some countries, including Vietnam and Malaysia who had hoped to boost exports to the United States, are believed to have expressed reluctance to put the TPP into force without Washington.
Chile and Peru have shown no keen interest in a U.S.-absent TPP, the sources said. Canada and Mexico are noncommittal as they brace for renegotiations on the terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement with the United States, they said.
If differences are not bridged among the 11 countries, the five-or-more-nation solution could gain traction with free trade-oriented Singapore and Brunei counted as possible partners.
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