WASHINGTON – Japan may not be allowed to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks as soon as Canada and Mexico as the United States has yet to determine whether to accept all three candidates at once, a senior White House official has indicated.
Michael Froman, deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs, told a think tank forum in Washington on Tuesday that the U.S. government has not made a decision “about (accepting) one, two or three” countries as new TPP members.
“We have to leave the issue for further discussion,” Froman added.
Talks in Washington are apparently moving at a slower pace over Japan’s participation in the regional free-trade initiative than Canada and Mexico.
Arturo Sarukhan, Mexico’s ambassador to the United States, has voiced confidence that his country will be granted permission to formally join the TPP negotiations in December, saying, “We may not be ready by (the June 18-19 Group of 20 summit at) Los Cabos, but I certainly think the Mexican government is looking to ensure entry by the end of this year.”
Trade ministers from the nine countries already hammering out a framework for the TPP held a separate meeting on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Kazan, Russia, at the end of May and discussed the progress each TPP participant has made during bilateral consultations with Japan, Canada and Mexico.