UK welcome to join Pacific trade deal, Japanese PM says

By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal

LONDON (AA) – The U.K. would be welcomed into the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) “with open arms” after Brexit, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said.

Abe's comments to Financial Times came just before the crucial few weeks that will shape a Brexit deal between the U.K. and the EU.

He said Britain would lose its role as a gateway to the EU following Brexit, but would still remain a country “equipped with global strength”, but also warned the negotiating sides to use “wisdom” to avoid a no-deal scenario.

“I hope that both sides can contribute their wisdom and at least avoid a so-called disorderly Brexit,” Abe said.

“I truly hope that the negative impact of Brexit to the global economy, including Japanese businesses, will be minimised,” he added.

The TPP has 11 members including Japan, Canada, Australia, Malaysia and Mexico.

Brexit talks have stalled after the EU rejected British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Chequers deal in September during an informal summit held in Salzburg.

The U.K. is “not afraid” to leave the EU “with no deal if it has to,” May said last week.

Speaking at the Conservative Party autumn conference, May said leaving the bloc with no deal would be tough and difficult at first with tariffs imposed, however, the U.K. would eventually prosper.

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab also accused the EU of not matching Britain's efforts in his speech, demanding “more respect” from the bloc in Brexit talks.

The U.K. and EU negotiators will meet in mid-October and try to ink a deal on sticky issues such as the future of the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, citizens’ rights, and future trade relations between the sides.

An emergency Brexit summit will be called if the parties progress on a possible deal, according to EU leaders.

The U.K. is set to leave the EU on March 29, 2019.

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