Jiji Press NEW YORK (Jiji Press) — Japan and 10 other signatory nations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership will discuss the possibility of putting the free trade pact into force without the participation of the United States, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso said Wednesday.
The possibility will be discussed in a ministerial meeting in late May, Aso said in a speech in New York.
“I don’t know what kind of agreement we’ll be arriving at, but I think there will be talk about doing it with 11 countries, without the United States,” he said.
The comments signal a policy change in Japan, where Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said a TPP without the United States would be meaningless.
U.S. President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the 12-member TPP immediately after taking office in January.
The TPP meeting is expected to take place on the sidelines of a meeting of trade ministers from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum member countries scheduled for May 20 and 21 in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi.