'Solid progress' at Pacific trade talks but no quick Japan entry
AsiaOne -- Mar 14
Progress is being made in Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade talks but hurdles remain and Japan is unlikely to be set to join the next round in May, negotiators said on March 13, pointing to a tough road for the 11 nations hoping for a deal this year.
If Japan wants to take part, it must first hold bilateral meetings with existing members and be supported by a consensus to "keep up the good momentum" as the countries prepare for the next talks in Peru, said Singapore negotiator Ng Bee Kim.
"I don't think we're looking at Japan specifically coming on board in Lima," Ng told a news conference after the 16th round of the three-year-old talks ended in Singapore.
The TPP, which has grown from seven countries, aims to eliminate barriers to goods and services and address issues including the movement of electronic data, market access for financial firms and copyright protection.
Japanese media say Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to announce on March 15 that Japan would like to join the talks.
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