Jiji PressWASHINGTON (Jiji Press) — The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative officially notified Trans-Pacific Partnership signatories on Monday of the United States’ withdrawal from the multilateral free trade agreement.
On the same day, acting USTR Maria Pagan sent a letter conveying Washington’s exit from the TPP to the Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry of New Zealand, which is in charge of administrative work linked to the pact, based on an executive order signed by U.S. President Donald Trump recently for permanently withdrawing his country from the agreement.
The letter said that the United States “does not intend to become a party” to the TPP and accordingly “has no legal obligations” arising from its signing of the pact. The TPP was signed by 12 countries, including Japan and the United States, in February last year.
Following its departure from the TPP, the United States is expected to urge Japan and other countries to enter into bilateral trade negotiations under Trump’s “America first” slogan.
“The United States remains committed to taking measures designed to promote more efficient markets and higher levels of economic growth, both in our country and around the world,” the letter said.
Trump, who has claimed that Japan acts unfairly in automobile trade with the United States, is seen proposing at his meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Washington on Feb. 10 that Washington and Tokyo start negotiations on concluding a bilateral trade deal, sources said.
In Tokyo, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference, “We believe President Trump recognizes the importance of free and fair trade.”