Tokyo aims to expand the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a major regional free-trade pact, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said yesterday, potentially catering to China’s and Britain’s interest in joining the deal.
The accord links 11 nations, including Canada, Australia and Japan.
“Japan will aspire for the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific through the early conclusion of the RCEP [Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership] agreement and the steady implementation and expansion of the CPTPP as next year’s chair,” Suga said in a comment in a pre-recorded video message delivered at the APEC CEO Dialogues, ahead of a leaders’ virtual summit later in the day.
Photo: AFP / Malaysia’s Department of Information
The RCEP is the world’s largest free-trade deal, signed this month by 15 economies, while the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific is potentially an even larger pact the 21-member APEC has been aspiring to.
A spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Commerce on Thursday said that Beijing was open to the idea of joining the CPTPP, while Britain earlier this year announced its intent to pursue accession to the pact.
Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) is scheduled to travel to Tokyo next week, marking the first high-level visit between the two countries since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Toshimitsu Motegi said at a regular briefing yesterday.
Suga also reiterated his key policy priorities — digital transformation and reduction of greenhouse gases.
“As people’s behavioral patterns shift due to COVID-19, accelerating digital transformation is crucial,” he said.
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