TPP Talks Down to the Wire
Ministers from 12 nations in the Asia-Pacific region have pledged to try to seal a free-trade deal this week. They have resumed negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade pact in the US city of Atlanta.
They wrapped up the first day of talks in about 40 minutes, agreeing to try to reach a broad agreement by holding bilateral negotiations on points of contention between individual countries. Mexican Secretary of Economy Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal said "we are making progress, but not enough to close it anytime soon."
The ministers are meeting for the first time since July. They're trying to overcome disagreements on a variety of issues, including patent protections for drugs and tariffs on farm products and auto parts. Japan's negotiator, Akira Amari, called on members to resolve all pending issues and hammer out a deal. He said that given the political situation of each country, the negotiations could go adrift if they aren't concluded this time. Amari said "the countries want to make this meeting our last."
Amari added that he wants to lead the difficult negotiations in line with Japan's national interest.