New Zealand Trade Minister Todd McClay (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – New Zealand Trade Minister Todd McClay called on the 11 remaining member countries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement to discuss the next step for the trade deal after the US pulled out.

The New Zealand trade chief made the statement in Tokyo on February 8 during his visit to Japan to hear the views of other TPP members regarding the future of the pact.

During an interview with Japan’s Kyodo News in Tokyo, he said a meeting of ministers from the TPP member countries could take place in Chile in March, adding that "It's too soon for us to give up on that achievement after nine years of negotiation," describing the deal as a "high quality" agreement.

According to McClay, there are a range of views among the countries but one option could be going ahead with the trade deal even without the US.

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is "complementary" and not a replacement for the TPP, he said.

The Japanese government is weighing the possibility of sending a representative to Chile next month, when a meeting of the Pacific Alliance - a Latin American trade bloc - will be held, according to a government source.

During the visit, McClay met with Japanese Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Nobuteru Ishihara.

The TPP was signed in Auckland, New Zealand, in February 2016 after more than five years of negotiation. The agreement was the pillar of the Obama administration's strategic “pivot” to Asia.

According to experts, if the original deal had become effective it would have added nearly 300 billion USD per year to the world’s gross domestic product.

However, the US under the administration of President Donald Trump has withdrawn from the pact.

The eleven TPP nations are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. Japan is the first nation to have ratified the agreement.

In 2016, New Zealand approved a law allowing its government to ratify the deal.

McClay plans to take a trip to Washington to push for the US’s approval of the TPP.-VNA