Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday that his country would continue pushing for a trans-Pacific trade deal, but he hoped the U.S. would rejoin the pact.
Following Washington's exit from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the 11 remaining members have kick-started discussions on how to proceed without the U.S. and recently wrapped up talks in Toronto. In an exclusive joint interview with CNBC and Broadcast Satellite Japan, Abe said Japan would like to exercise leadership in promoting the TPP among member countries.
"We have finally come to an agreement on the rules of free and fair trade. We hope to utilize that agreed framework. Unfortunately, the U.S. has declared withdrawal from the TPP. Since we have come thus far, we would like to capitalize upon the result of our long years of efforts," Abe said in Japanese.
"Japan must now take on a leadership role and move the discussions forward."
The prime minister added that "momentum" should not be lost, but he left the door open for a U.S. return to the deal.
The 11 countries made a judgement on the assumption that the U.S. will be in TPP and it is important that these 11 nations are united, he said. "Since the U.S. understands the importance of having free and fair trade rules, it is our wish, by all means our strong wish is that the U.S. will return to TPP."