Jiji Press SANTIAGO (Jiji Press) — Japan and 10 other countries signed a document on a new Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact in Santiago on Thursday afternoon.
The move came after the 11 nations reached a broad agreement on the new pact last November, after the United States under the administration of President Donald Trump withdrew from the original 12-nation TPP in early 2017.
The other 10 members of the new TPP are Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Chile, Mexico and Peru.
The Japanese government, which has played a leading role in the 11-member TPP, plans to submit related domestic bills to the ongoing regular session of the Diet, aiming to put the pact into effect in 2019.
Earlier on Thursday, prior to the signing, the 11 countries held a ministerial meeting. From Japan, Toshimitsu Motegi, economic revitalization minister, took part in the talks.
Motegi also held bilateral meetings with ministers from countries including Australia.
“Japan wants to take the lead in building the momentum toward the effectuation,” Motegi told a press conference after the signing.
The new TPP will go into effect 60 days after a majority of the member countries complete domestic procedures.
It maintained in principle the original 12-nation TPP agreement in the area of tariffs, intended to open the markets of agricultural and industrial products, and in the field of trade and investment rules, aimed at facilitating customs procedures and promoting corporate activities. But 22 measures, including the one on drug data protection, will be suspended until the United States returns to the free trade pact.
The joining of a new country or region will be permitted after the deal’s effectuation.
In the meantime, the United States has been taking an increasingly protectionist approach, with Trump signing proclamations to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports under his “America First” policy.
Chilean Foreign Minister Herald Munoz said although the world is facing protectionist pressures, nobody wants trade wars.