Ukraine applies to join Pacific trade pact, Japan says

Ukraine has submitted to New Zealand an application to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact, Japan's economic revitalization minister Shigeyuki Goto said Friday.

The submission came ahead of a ministerial meeting of the trade pact's 11 member countries to be held in the New Zealand city of Auckland on July 15 and 16.

Goto, who is in charge of Japan's negotiations for the TPP, confirmed the application in a news conference, saying Japan as a member of the regional free trade deal "needs to carefully assess whether Ukraine can fully meet the high levels of the deal."

New Zealand, which performs the legal depositary functions for the partnership, received a formal accession request from Ukraine on May 5, Reuters reported Friday, citing a spokesperson from New Zealand's Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry.

Britain is set to become the 12th member of the free trade bloc, known formally as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, after its accession is expected to be officially approved at the ministerial meeting in Auckland.

To join the trade deal, which accounts for around 13 percent of world GDP, the approval of all 11 members -- Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam -- is needed.

Other economies that have applied to join the pact include China, Taiwan, Ecuador, Costa Rica and Uruguay.

© Kyodo News