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Thursday, April 26, 2018, 1:13 a.m.

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Asia cautious about possible Trump rethink on trade deal

By The Associated Press

This article was published April 13, 2018 at 11:19 a.m.

TOKYO — Japan, Australia and New Zealand reacted cautiously Friday after President Donald Trump signaled he might reopen talks on a Pacific Rim trade deal that he pulled the U.S. out of shortly after taking office.

Japanese officials said they welcome the move if it means that Trump is recognizing the importance of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. New Zealand's trade minister said his country is not blind to the benefits of free trade with the world's largest economy, but U.S. participation remains theoretical.

"It's not yet clear how real it is, given the different views in the U.S. administration," Trade Minister David Parker said.

His Australian counterpart, Steve Ciobo, said the U.S. is welcome to rejoin the agreement, but added: "Let's also be clear, I think there's very little appetite among the TPP 11 countries for there to be any meaningful renegotiation or indeed any substantial renegotiation of the TPP 11 at all."

"What we're all focused on is making sure we can bring the TPP 11 into effect as soon as possible," he said.

He said that Australian agricultural exporters in particular are at an advantage compared to their American colleagues, "and I think that's one of the reasons why the United States is having a second look at possibly rejoining the TPP."

Read Saturday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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