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Member nations of a Pacific regional trade deal agreed Wednesday to allow the United Kingdom to begin the process to join, Japan’s minister in charge of the negotiations said, in a potential boost for the country’s trade following Brexit.

Yasutoshi Nishimura said the move would strengthen economic ties between the U.K. and Japan, as well as making the zone covered by the deal equal to the European Union in terms of economic size. He spoke to reporters after hosting an online meeting of ministers and officials from the 11 countries who make up the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

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