SINGAPORE - Singapore and the 10 remaining Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) signatories today agreed to look at ways to take the comprehensive economic cooperation forward despite the abrupt withdrawal of the United States.
The unified stand came on the sidelines of a Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting of ministers responsible for trade in Hanoi.
In a joint statement, the ministers reaffirmed the mutual benefits of the TPP, "highlighting its principles and high standards as a way to promote regional economic integration, contribute positively to the economic growth prospects of its member countries, and create new opportunities for workers, families, farmers, businesses and consumers".
"The ministers agreed on the value of realising the TPP's benefits and to that end, they agreed to launch a process to assess options to bring the comprehensive, high quality agreement into force expeditiously, including how to facilitate membership for the original signatories," the statement said.
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In a separate statement, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said Singapore is encouraged by its partners' commitment to the TPP and noted that this will have a positive spillover effect on economic integration in the region, and the agreement will also provide for others to join in when ready.
"Singapore supports the joint efforts by the 11 to sustain the TPP. It is important that we keep up momentum," said Minister of Trade and Industry (Trade) Lim Hng Kiang.
"Singapore will participate constructively in this collective process to harvest the TPP's benefits," he added.
The ministers have tasked senior officials to engage over the next few months to work out the options to bring the TPP into force expeditiously, said MTI.
Officials will meet again in Japan in July and bring proposals in November, New Zealand Trade Minister Todd McClay told Reuters in Hanoi.
In time to come, the remaining members hope to get the United States back on board.
The US was part of the original 12-nation TPP that would have covered 40 per cent of the global economy before President Donald Trump abandoned it upon assuming the presidency in January, branding the pact as a bad deal for American workers.