TOKYO – The government of Japan ruled out on Friday the possibility of renegotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership to facilitate the United States rejoining the agreement.
After the decision by the administration of US President Donald Trump to withdraw from the original TPP in January 2017, the remaining 11 countries decided to go ahead with the agreement, and are set to sign a new version on March 8 at a meeting in Chile.
Tokyo’s reaction came after Trump said on Thursday that Washington would consider joining the agreement if it included better terms for his country.
Spokesperson Yasutoshi Nishimura said at a press conference that if the US wanted to join, it would not mean a new renegotiation, as the TPP was an agreement initially signed by 12 countries, which included the US.
Any small change could affect the negotiations severely, he said, after being asked about Trump’s statements.
Japan has already explained the importance of the TPP to the US, and is doing everything possible to make it come into effect as soon as possible, he added.
“I would do TPP if we made a much better deal than we had. We had a horrible deal,” Trump said in an interview with US broadcaster CNBC on Thursday.
Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam and the US, which account for about 40 percent of global economic activity, signed the original TPP in 2016 after six years of negotiations.
The agreement had to be ratified within a period of two years by at least six member countries whose combined GDP represented 85 percent of the total, but after the US exit – which alone accounts for 60 percent of the GDP of the 12 signatory states – it became invalid.