Reviving the Trans-Pacific Partnership: Japan to “exert leadership”

Reviving the Trans-Pacific Partnership: Japan to “exert leadership”

Senior APEC trade representatives will gather in Vietnam on Thursday ahead of this weekend’s ministerial summit. The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation

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Senior APEC trade representatives will gather in Vietnam on Thursday ahead of this weekend’s ministerial summit. The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation encompasses almost all countries that border the Pacific Ocean, including the US, China and Japan—the world’s three largest economies.

Thursday’s forum will provide an important opportunity for Japanese delegates to pursue PM Shinzo Abe’s vision to “steer the debate toward” reviving the mega TPP trade deal after the withdrawal of the United States in January.

Mr Abe insists that “Japan wants to exert leadership” and bring the deal back to to the table, even without Washington’s support. In a meeting with New Zealand’s prime minister on Wednesday, Abe hailed the two countries as the “flag bearers of free trade”, saying they would work together to “aim at early realisation of TPP”.

Without the inclusion of the US, the remaining 11 parties to the deal will seek to include some of the region’s other economic powerhouses—notably China and Indonesia. However, this will be a challenge; the advanced economies that negotiated the TPP included extremely detailed provisions relating to intellectual property and investor-state dispute settlement—provisions the less developed economies will find difficult to implement.