The 11-member reincarnation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, known as the CPTPP, moved one step closer to implementation last week in a sign that — despite a spate of recent international trade disputes such deals are very much alive in Asia.

The deal caps off an already busy year for Japanese trade negotiators who also signed a large economic partnership agreement with the European Union, moved forward with bilateral trade negotiations with the U.S. and launched early discussions about expanding the CPTPP beyond its original members.

And yet Tokyo still appears keen to squeeze more out of 2018, striking an increasingly hopeful tone that a tentative agreement can be reached before year's end on another massive trade deal known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).