Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Thursday it was possible Tokyo and Washington could hold bilateral free trade talks in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Fulfilling a campaign pledge, Trump signed an executive order on Monday, pulling the U.S. out of the TPP. and distancing Washington from its Asian allies.
However, Trump said the TPP would rob Americans of jobs and investment.
“Japan will continue to stress to the U.S. the importance of the TPP.
“But it is not totally unfeasible for talks on Economic Partnership Agreement and Free Trade Agreement with the U. S.,’’ Abe told parliament after asked about trade talks between the two nations.
The remaining 11 TPP nations, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam are expected to hold talks in March to try and salvage the multilateral trade pact.
Australia has suggested China as a possible TPP member, replacing the U.S., but Beijing has its own multilateral trade pact and Japan is cool on the idea.
Report says many Asian nations had seen the TPP as a counterbalance to China’s growing power in the region.