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South Pacific

Japan, New Zealand pledge to carry forward TPP despite U.S. withdrawal

Xinhua | Fri,2017-05-19

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TOKYO, May 17 (Xinhua) -- Japan and New Zealand pledged on Wednesday to carry forward the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact despite the withdrawal of the United States.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and visiting New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English affirmed at a summit here that they will remain committed to "maintaining the unity among the signatories and early entry into force of the TPP agreement."

The two leaders also agreed to continue to cooperate and push forward the ongoing negotiations of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a free trade agreement that involves 16 Asia-Pacific countries but excludes the United States.

The TPP deal involved Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam. It was formally signed by ministers from these 12 countries in February after more than five years' negotiation.

U.S. President Donald Trump signed in January an executive order to officially withdraw the U.S., the largest signatory of the TPP, from the trade pact, leaving chances dim for the TPP pact coming into force.

Japan and New Zealand are currently the only two signatories that have ratified the TPP pact. New Zealand ratified the TPP pact last Thursday, while Japan completed domestic procedures for ratifying the trade pact in December last year.

Bill English is currently in Japan for a three-day visit. He will leave for China's Hong Kong on Thursday.