As Vice President Mike Pence arrives in Japan to further forge the economic ties between the two nations, Japan says it will take the lead to finish the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) without the United States.
Pence arrived in Tokyo Tuesday as part of a 10-day trip through Asia. He first met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to discuss tensions with North Korea.
Later, he met with the Japanese finance minister when the two nations formally launched the U.S.-Japan economic dialogue, which is the first step towards negotiating a bilateral trade agreement.
Shortly after President Donald Trump took office in January, he severed U.S. involvement with the TPP. Trump says he prefers to negotiate with individual nations.
Pence says despite the U.S. withdrawal from TPP, the economies of the U.S. and Japan are intertwined.
“Today gives evidence of the fact that the United States of America is determined to reach out to our partners in the Asia Pacific and around the world to at least begin to explore the possibility of expanded economic opportunities including trade on a bilateral basis,” he said.
While the U.S. may be out of the TPP, Japan isn’t. It’s trying to revive the TPP but Japan isn’t. It’s trying to revive the TPP without the U.S.
The deal, that was estimated to be worth more than $4 billion to U.S. agriculture, has Japan trying to amend the 11-nation deal, cutting out the U.S. and moving forward.
Tokyo aims to hold a TPP minister’s meeting in Vietnam in late May to consider ways an 11-member pact could work.