Japan says it will push for TPP without the U.S.; Australia, Canada suggest UK could join

Japan – which has already ratified TPP – had been reluctant to pursue a deal without the U.S. following President Trump's decision to withdraw from the agreement.
Aso, the report says, did not elaborate on how Japan might go about convincing other TPP members to keep going. He did say that “There will be no renegotiation on the TPP's current framework,” Nikkei reported.
Aso also expressed confidence that the U.S. eventually would join the deal.
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“The U.S. will soon realize that it could gain much less from a bilateral FTA with Japan than under the TPP,” Aso said. Under the TPP, for instance, the U.S. agreed to eliminate its 2.5% tariff on imported automobiles — a concession that the Trump administration finds difficult to swallow.
As a result, the U.S. is likely to lose concessions that Japan made in agreeing to the TPP.
That's not all. Aso pointed out that U.S. beef could lose out to its Australian rivals in Japan if a rejigged TPP is agreed to. His comment seemed to be pointed at Washington.
Meanwhile, the Telegraph reports from London that Australian and Canadian officials want the United Kingdom to consider joining TPP and NAFTA.
“In many ways it would make a lot of sense for the UK to join NAFTA — you wouldn’t have to sit down and work out de novo what a trade agreement with the U.S. would look like, you would start with something that is already there,” said John Weekes, a former Canadian NAFTA negotiator, according to the paper.
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“In many ways it would make sense to think of docking initially with some of these existing agreements rather than starting from the beginning to negotiate a set of free trade agreements,” he told the Prosperity UK conference.
“It would make a lot of sense from a UK perspective to have one agreement with the North American countries rather than three agreements especially when those countries have one agreement with each other.”
He was joined by Australia’s High Commissioner to the UK Alexander Downer, who said that this idea could be extended to the TPP, which is made up of the NAFTA countries plus others around the Pacific, though the U.S. has pulled out.
Downer added that “Japan’s switch in position” on TPP is “is very promising,” adding that Australia would not object if the UK wanted to join the deal.

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