Ministerial Representatives from 12 countries pose for a photo after signing the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement in Auckland on February 4, 2016. The US has since withdrawn from the deal. Photo: AFP, Michael Bradley

Japan plans to call on the remaining 10 other Trans-Pacific Partnership member countries to reach an agreement before the end of the year, reports Nikkei Asian Review. The countries will convene a ministerial meeting in Vietnam on May 21.

Before the US withdrawal from the agreement, following the election of president Trump, it represented the potential first-ever trade accord between the US and Japan. The Trump administration has since called for a bilateral trade agreement between the two countries, but Japan hopes a revived and ratified TPP could dampen the calls for a separate agreement and open the door for the US to come back to the table.

Merely getting the existing countries to join will, however, prove difficult. Vietnam and Malaysia had made concessions only in exchange for access to the US market, and are skeptical of deal without the US.

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