APEC praises host’s interest in exploring TPP

by Kazuaki Nagata

Members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation reacted positively to Japan’s initial stance on entering consultations with economies interested in launching a U.S.-backed trans-Pacific free-trade agreement, government officials said Sunday.

“APEC economies have a keen interest in this (Trans-Pacific Partnership) matter, so we explained our direction put together yesterday,” a government official told reporters during a briefing session on the first day of the APEC forum in Yokohama, where meetings took place among bureaucrats from the 21 APEC economies.

The government organized a meeting of relevant ministers Saturday to draft a basic policy framework on free-trade agreements — including the TPP — and came to the conclusion that Japan should start consulting with related countries while gathering information.

“The economies’ reaction was that they said it was pleasing to hear Japan’s announcement, and Japan’s policymaking process over the past month is commendable,” the official said.