First meeting for UK's CPTPP inclusion to be held in a month, Japan minister says

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FILE PHOTO: School children wave flags as a cruise boat carrying Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, arrives at the Hama Rikyu gardens in Tokyo

By Daniel Leussink and Kantaro Komiya

TOKYO (Reuters) - Member countries of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) agreed to hold within a month a first meeting with Britain to discuss its inclusion in the trade deal, Japan's economy minister said on Wednesday.

The trade pact removes 95% of tariffs between its members: Japan, Canada, Australia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Singapore, Mexico, Peru, Brunei, Chile and Malaysia.

"It was agreed between member countries to hold it (the meeting) in about a month," Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura told reporters after hosting a virtual meeting of the 11 member nations.

Japan, as the trade pact's chair this year, will work to hold the working group meeting - which will allow Britain to demonstrate its compliance with the deal's obligations - before the end of the month, Nishimura said.

"I believe that the importance of Britain as a strategic partner and the expansion of the high-level rules beyond the Asia-Pacific are extremely significant," Nishimura added.

Britain in June began negotiations to join the trans-Pacific trade deal, which it sees as key to its post-Brexit pivot away from Europe and towards geographically more distant but faster-growing economies.

(Reporting by Daniel Leussink and Kantaro Komiya. Editing by Gerry Doyle)

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