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Thailand wants to join TPP 'as soon as possible,' says deputy PM

But local general elections next year could put any deal on hold

Japanese minister in charge of TPP negotiations Toshimitsu Motegi, left, meets with Thai Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak in Bangkok, Thailand, on May 1. (Photo by Takaki Kashiwabara)

BANGKOK -- Thailand wants to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership "as soon as possible," Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak told visiting Japanese Economic and Fiscal Policy and Revitalization Minister Toshimitsu Motegi who is in charge of negotiations for the pact on Tuesday.

Thailand had previously expressed interest in joining the free trade deal between 11 nations but had hung back after President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the pact as soon as he took office in 2017.

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