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Tuesday, November 22, 2016, 11:52

Abe says TPP ‘meaningless’ without US

By Associated Press
Abe says TPP ‘meaningless’ without US
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe talks during a press conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Nov 21, 2016. (Luciano Matteazzi / AP)

BUENOS AIRES — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal would be "meaningless" without the United States.

TPP is meaningless without the United States

Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister, Japan

Abe spoke after attending a weekend meeting of Asia-Pacific leaders in Peru at which some said they might seek to modify the 12-nation TPP pact to make it more appealing to US-President-elect Donald Trump , who has strongly criticized it, or seek to implement it without the US.

But Abe discounted the idea of going ahead without American participation.

"TPP is meaningless without the United States," he said at a news conference during his official visit to Argentina.

He also said the pact couldn't be renegotiated. "This would disturb the fundamental balance of benefits."

As Japan's most powerful leader in a decade, Abe had invested political capital in overcoming strong domestic opposition to the TPP, which Trump called "a disaster for jobs" in the US.

Abe and the other 20 leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation group closed their annual summit Sunday with a unified call to resist the protectionist sentiment highlighted by Trump's victory and Britain's vote to leave the European Union.

The Japanese leader declined to comment on possible policies of the incoming Trump administration.

Last week, he became the first world leader to meet with Trump since his election. Abe, who was seeking reassurances over the future of US-Japan security and trade relations, described the meeting as "really, really cordial," but he offered few details of their discussion.

There are growing concerns in Japan that Trump might follow up his campaign rhetoric and demand that Tokyo pay more for the 50,000 American troops stationed in Japan under a security treaty. Japan pays about US$2 billion a year, about half of the non-personnel costs of stationing the US troops, while South Korea pays about US$860 million a year for about 28,000 American troops based there.

Earlier Monday, Abe met with Argentine President Mauricio Macri and signed trade deals in the first visit by a Japanese premier to Argentina in 57 years.

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