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Economy

Vietnam remains committed to TPP, prime minister says

Phuc outlines hopes for investment, security deals with Japan

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U.S. President Donald Trump, center right, welcomes Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, center left, to the White House on May 31.   © Reuters

HANOI -- Vietnam will work with Japan and other nations to put the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact into effect, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc told The Nikkei and other news outlets here Friday.

The Vietnamese leader, who will visit Japan starting Sunday, called the trade deal crucial to connecting and developing the economies in the Asia-Pacific region.

The American decision to leave the TPP was believed to have dulled Vietnam's interest in the deal. But Phuc expressed openness Friday to the so-called TPP-11, a proposed version of the trade bloc that excludes the U.S. He praised Japan's efforts in devising a new plan.

Phuc will attend next week's International Conference on the Future of Asia to be hosted by Nikkei Inc. in Japan. The prime minister said he wanted to work closer with Tokyo on South China Sea defenses, as well as receive more development assistance and investment from Japan.

Phuc said he hoped for Japanese investment in digitalization and other fields that could boost economic productivity. The leader said he also was banking on Japanese expertise in smart city development and applying information technology to agriculture, factories and travel.

The prime minister welcomed the active involvement by Japan and other nations in the South China Sea, where Vietnam has overlapping claims with China. Phuc is expected to reach a deal on maritime security with Japan during his trip there, such as on receiving patrol ships from Tokyo.

Phuc and U.S. President Donald Trump reportedly also reaffirmed their cooperation in the South China Sea at a Wednesday summit.

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