Japan aims to expand CPTTP free trade deal

Author: Nurluqman Suratman


SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Japan is aiming to expand the 11-member Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Friday.

Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam signed the CPTPP in March 2018.

"While continuing to promote World Trade Organization (WTO) reform, Japan will aspire for the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific through the early conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement and the steady implementation and expansion of the CPTPP as next year's chair," Suga said.

Suga made the remarks in pre-recorded video message for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Dialogues.

The 11 countries of the CPTPP forms a trading bloc representing 495m consumers and 13.5% of global GDP and the trade pact entered into force in December 2018.

If the US had stayed in the CPTPP group, the members would have accounted for 40% of world GDP.

There are expectations that the US under President-elect Joe Biden will re-join the group.

The US had been the main proponent of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (later renamed CPTPP)  deal under former President Barack Obama, but the world’s largest economy withdrew from the negotiations when President Donald Trump assumed power in 2017.

China, which was leading the recently signed 15-member RCEP, was not part of the CPTPP negotiations. The RCEP, the world's largest free trade deal so far, was signed on 15 November 2020.

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