The City of London financial district is seen with office skyscrapers seen in London, Britain, January 25, 2018. [Photo/Agencies]

TOKYO – The 11 members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) decided Wednesday to start negotiations concerning Britain’s entry into the regional free trade agreement, a Japanese official said here Wednesday.

Yasutoshi Nishimura, Japan’s minister in charge of TPP negotiations, said the members made the decision in a virtual meeting of the TPP Commission, the group’s top decision-making body chaired by Japan this year.

Britain filed a request in February to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the first accession application by a member outside the participating countries.

Nishimura said that he will work “to achieve the best possible outcome for Japan” in Britain’s TPP entry talks.

The TPP member countries and Britain are expected to set up task force groups within several months to discuss issues such as tariffs and trade and investment rules.

The trade agreement came into force in 2018, covering about 13 percent of global gross domestic product.

Among the 11 member nations of Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, seven have so far ratified it.