efe-epaTokyo

Japan will host a meeting of the 11 member countries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership to discuss the future of the free trade agreement without the participation of the United States.

The meeting, which will be held in the Japanese town of Hakone during July 12-14, will seek to push forward a free trade agreement as soon as possible, Japan's Economy and Fiscal Policy Minister Nobuteru Ishihara said in statements reported by the Kyodo news agency.

The negotiations will revolve around finding a way to take the TPP forward after the US withdrawal from the pact, despite many signatory countries indicating their reluctance to move ahead with it as their main objective was to benefit from better trade ties with the world's largest economy.

The foreign trade ministers of the 11 countries that are still a part of the TPP agreed in May to conclude all preparations before November to implement the agreement as soon as possible, when the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit will be held in Vietnam.

Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam and the US, which account for about 40 percent of global economic activity, signed the TPP in 2016 after six years of negotiations.

For the agreement to move forward, it must be ratified within a period of two years by at least six member countries with a combined GDP of 85 percent of the group.

The exit of the US, which alone accounts for 60 percent of the combined GDP of the 12 signatory countries, leaves the future of the pact in the air.