TOKYO – Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak asked his Japanese counterpart on Wednesday to try to convince U.S. President-elect Donald Trump to support the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement when they meet in New York this week.
Najib told Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that Malaysia has cleared the way to ratify the agreement. Japan, also part of the 12-nation deal, is in the final stages of getting parliamentary approval for the necessary legislation. But U.S. ratification is unlikely before President Barack Obama leaves office, and Trump has expressed strong opposition to the pact.
Najib urged Abe to explain the significance of the agreement to Trump when they meet Thursday.
“We hope that the TPP agreement will come into force,” Najib told a joint news conference after their talks, adding that Abe’s meeting with Trump is “very much awaited” by the rest of TPP participants. “Hopefully the strategic importance of TPP will be recognized by the incoming (Trump) administration as well as by all the participating countries.”
Abe told a parliamentary session Tuesday that he hopes to build trust with the next leader of the United States, Japan’s top ally. Japanese officials are concerned about possible changes in U.S. trade and security policies under Trump and their impact on Japan and the rest of the Asia-Pacific region.
“When I meet with Mr. Trump, I would like to frankly exchange views on the economy, trade, security and Japan-U.S. relations and our alliance, and build a relationship with trust,” Abe said.
Japan also announced that it is providing two patrol vessels to Malaysia to increase its maritime security.
Abe, pushing for exports of infrastructure projects as part of his growth strategy, also promoted Japan’s Shinkansen high-speed railway system for a planned Malaysian rail project.
AP video journalist Kaori Hitomi contributed to this report.
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