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Japan's TPP trade-off lets Chile star as signing host

Tokyo needed Santiago's help to bring Canada on board by early March

Chile's Foreign Minister Heraldo Munoz, left, shakes hands with Japanese counterpart Taro Kono in Tokyo on Feb. 23, as Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe look on.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- The 11 remaining members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership are set to sign their new pact in Chile on Thursday afternoon, local time, and Japan's diplomatic dealings were a decisive factor in the choice of venue.

Japan took up the torch for promoting a retooled TPP after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew last year. It hosted four of five working-level negotiation sessions and was expected to host the signing ceremony as well, yet it let Chile have the honor instead. In exchange, Chile helped to convince a reluctant Canada to seal the deal by early March.

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