With protectionism rising, Japanese leader Abe and his Canadian counterpart agree to promote free trade at APEC meeting


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sunday agreed with his Canadian and Chilean counterparts to closely cooperate in promoting free trade amid the rise of protectionism.

In a meeting in the Papua New Guinean capital of Port Moresby, Abe and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomed the planned enforcement on Dec. 30 of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an 11-nation free trade agreement, according to the Foreign Ministry in Tokyo.

In separate talks on the sidelines of a summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, Abe asked Chilean President Sebastian Pinera to have the Latin American country ratify the pact as soon as possible, the ministry said.

Of the 11 members, Mexico, Japan, Singapore, New Zealand, Canada, Australia and Vietnam have ratified the TPP, formally called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The other members yet to finish their domestic procedures are Brunei, Chile, Malaysia and Peru.

Abe and Trudeau also pledged to fully implement U.N. sanctions on North Korea in partnership with the international community, the ministry said.

Abe thanked Canada for dispatching planes and vessels to monitor U.N.-prohibited ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum products to North Korea.

Abe and Pinera, meanwhile, agreed to cooperate in ensuring that Chile will successfully chair APEC meetings next year.

Also on Sunday, Abe met Morris Chang, Taiwan’s representative to the APEC summit, and said Japan would like to deepen ties with the self-ruled island in tourism and other areas, according to the ministry.

Taiwan is an important partner of Japan that shares universal values such as freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law, Abe was quoted by the ministry as saying.

Chang, who represented Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen at the annual gathering, was quoted as saying Taiwan would like to step up economic ties with Japan.

He also briefed Abe about recent developments in cross-strait relations.