TOKYO, March 15 — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made it clear that he is not open to renegotiation that would shift the balance of benefits further in favor of the U.S. in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
“The TPP-11 deal is a delicate piece of glass work,” Abe told the upper house budget committee on March 14.
When he was asked to comment on the possibility of renegotiating the TPP to bring the U.S. back in, Abe said: “I do not agree to any deal that is not in the nation’s best interests.”
In January, U.S. President Donald Trump said that he might consider rejoining the trade pact, if he could get a “better deal” for his country.
Earlier this month, moving ahead without the U.S., 11 countries including Japan signed the revised trade pact, now renamed the Comprehensive Progressive TPP (CPTPP), in Chile.
Keeping the CPTPP has become the Abe administration’s core strategy for dealing with U.S. pressure to begin negotiations on a bilateral trade agreement.
This is because Tokyo fears U.S. demands to further market access, particularly in areas such as cars and beef, may go beyond the concessions it made as part of the original TPP.
Abe pledged to step up efforts to pass CPTPP legislation at the current parliamentary session, a move Tokyo hopes would spur other 10 countries to hurry as well.
The CPTPP will enter into force 60 days after six of the 11 countries ratify the deal, a process that involves amending their respective domestic laws.