Japan PM says TPP meaningless without US as Trump nixes pact

Japan’s prime minister said Monday the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal would be “meaningless” without U.S. participation, as Donald Trump announced he planned to quit the pact. Shinzo Abe’s comment came shortly before the U.S. president-elect released a short video about his plans for his administration, including an intention to have the United States drop out of the TPP pact. “I am going to issue a notification of intent to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a potential disaster for our country,” Trump said. “Instead, we will negotiate fair, bilateral trade deals that bring jobs and industry back onto American shores.” Abe spoke after attending a weekend meeting of Asia-Pacific leaders in Peru at which some said they might try to modify the 12-nation TPP pact to make it more appealing to Trump or seek to implement it without the U.S. But Abe discounted the idea of going ahead without the Americans being a part of the deal. “TPP is meaningless without the United States,” he said at a news conference during an 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 has called “a disaster for jobs” in the United States. 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.