Trade delegation wins Brunei’s support for joining TPP negotiations

Kyodo

Brunei supports Japan joining negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an official said after a meeting between trade officials from the two countries.

A delegation of Japanese trade negotiators, led by Keiichi Katakami, ambassador in charge of economic diplomacy, visited Brunei’s capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, for preliminary talks Thursday on the TPP. Brunei is one of the first members of the free-trade initiative.

The administration declared in November that Japan wants to join the TPP negotiations, but it has to secure approval from the nine countries already involved in the multilateral talks — Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.

“They asked if Brunei would support Japan. I think we can support them. We have committed to support them,” a Brunei official said soon after the meeting

“We don’t have any problem if Japan wants to join the TPP.”

The official added that Brunei, which signed a bilateral economic partnership agreement with Japan in 2007, doesn’t have any major trade issues with Japan.

During Thursday’s meeting, the Japanese side wanted to know more about the various topics currently being discussed in the TPP negotiations, he said.

The delegation is comprised about 10 senior officials from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry; the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry; and the Finance Ministry.

The Brunei delegation at the one-day meeting was led by Lim Jock Hoi, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has said he will make a final decision on the TPP after learning more from the nine other countries and holding necessary domestic discussions.