The chief negotiators of 11 Trans-Pacific Partnership countries plan to meet on or around July 11 in Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture, to discuss the future of the free trade deal without the United States, according to a source close to the matter.
The planned meeting comes after the trade ministers of the remaining 11 TPP states agreed May 21 to complete preparatory work by November to quickly put the deal into force. In November, they will meet on the margins of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum gathering in Vietnam.
Since U.S. President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of the world’s biggest economy from the TPP soon after taking office in January, the remaining 11 signatories are at odds over whether to move ahead with realizing a TPP absent the U.S.
Japan, Australia and New Zealand advocate a quick implementation of the deal without the United States, but Vietnam and Malaysia are reluctant as they hoped to take advantage of increased trade with the U.S. to expand their economies.
The upcoming negotiators’ meeting, to be hosted by Tokyo for the first time, will focus on concrete ways to bring the TPP into force.
Under current rules, the TPP requires ratification by nations accounting for 85 percent of the combined gross domestic product of the original 12 signatories. The agreed pact is effectively dead with the withdrawal of the United States as it accounts for 60 percent of the group’s total GDP.
The TPP was signed in February 2016 by Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam, covering around 40 percent of the global economy.