Japan completed its domestic procedures to ratify the 11-member Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade accord on Friday, becoming the second member to do so after Mexico.
The completion will boost the likelihood of the pact taking effect as early as this year. At least six countries still need to finish their own domestic procedures.
The TPP, formally called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, is designed to facilitate movements of goods and people. It covers about 13 percent of the world’s economy and some 15 percent of global trade in value.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to sign a free trade agreement between Japan and the European Union next week, signaling Tokyo’s determination to promote free trade.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s move to impose higher tariffs on Chinese goods and Beijing’s retaliatory actions have amplified fears of trade friction and raised concerns about the global economy.
Following the abrupt pullout of the United States, the remaining members signed the revised TPP in March.
When the pact takes effect, consumers will gain access to cheaper food and other products due to the lowering of tariffs. But domestic farmers are worried they will be hurt by a greater volume of imports.
Japan’s economy will likely get an ¥8 trillion ($72.28 billion) boost from the TPP even as the agricultural and fishing industry may see a negative impact of up to ¥150 billion, according to the government’s estimate.
The Diet has enacted legislation to provide support for livestock farmers who will be exposed to foreign competition and to extend intellectual property rights in line with the TPP.
The TPP 11 members are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Colombia and Thailand are among countries seen as willing to join the pact.