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TPP-11 members agree to facilitate expanding membership

The 11 members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) have agreed to facilitate expansion of membership, once the trade pact comes into effect, informed sources said.

Before entering accession talks, countries wishing to join the TPP-11 must inform New Zealand, the depository of the TPP-11, of its intention.

The original TPP members who completed ratification still have the veto power over new members, since accession talks requires agreement from them, the sources said.

Senior trade officials met in Hakone, a lake resort near Tokyo, to discuss the procedure on how to add more members to the pact at a two-day meeting that ended July 19.

They explored membership criteria in acceding to the trade pact, but no one has yet put forward any concrete proposals, the sources said.

They will meet again in Japan to discuss the issue later this year.

The TPP-11 will enter into force 60 days after six of the 11 countries ratify the deal, a process that involves amending their respective domestic laws. So far, Japan, Mexico and Singapore have ratified it.

It is now expected that more than six countries complete ratification by the end of the year to bring it into force early 2019.