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Junko Suetomi

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TPP, Japan, bilateral agreements, Prime Minister Abe, President TrumpJust prior to U.S. Vice President Pence’s visit to Tokyo on Tuesday 18 April, 2017, Japan announced that it will push forward with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement among the 11 remaining parties. The move is significant in that Japan is now the largest economy among the 11 remaining parties and any progress forward with the agreement would require Japan’s participation and leadership.

According to the Nikkei news article, one of the reasons Japan wants to move forward with the TPP is that it was given a green light by the United States and confirmed that President Donald Trump would not object to TPP negotiations among the 11 remaining members. Additionally, Japan still hopes that the United States comes back to multinational negotiations rather than bilateral ones.

Japan and the TPPThree recent developments indicate that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) could survive the United States’ withdrawal — a meeting of TPP parties in Chile March 14-15, developments in Australia suggesting an interest in proceeding with TPP, and Japan’s statement on regional initiatives at the same time as the country explores bilateral discussions with the United States.

First, it was recently reported that the remaining 11 TPP members will meet in Chile to discuss the status of TPP and the possibility of making changes to the agreement to allow it to move forward.  Article 30.5 could be altered so that the agreement may enter into force without the United States.

As currently drafted, Article 30.5 requires both the United States and Japan to ratify TPP for it to enter into force. The two countries represent 85% of the combined GDP of the original signatories.  Eighty five percent is the threshold amount stated in Article 30.5 for TPP to enter into force.  Modifying the language in Article 30.5 would allow the agreement to move forward.

Despite President-elect Trump’s statement that he will file a notification of intent to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Upper House of Japan’s parliament completed the approval process for ratification of the trade deal on Friday, December 9.  The approval for ratification comes about a month after Japan’s Prime Minister Abe met with U.S. President-elect Trump in New York City. At the meeting, Abe said he was confident that Trump is a “trustworthy leader”…