Japan’s Economy Minister Amari: Difficult to Hold TPP Ministerial Talks

Japanese Economy Minister Akira Amari said on Wednesday that it would be difficult to hold ministerial-level talks this month on a pan-Pacific trade deal that is a key component of U.S. President Barack Obama’s strategic rebalance to Asia.

Amari spoke to reporters after U.S. lawmakers on Tuesday extended until late July a deadline for a second vote on legislation central to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) pact, giving supporters time to obtain more backing for it.  Amari added he was neither optimistic nor excessively pessimistic on the outlook for the 12-nation trade pact.

“TPP is an important new framework that could become a new world standard, and I hope that the United States will have a sense of urgency and responsibility and approve (the legislation) at an early stage,” Amari said.  Japan hopes the TPP will help anchor ally Washington in Asia and create a rule-based regime that would eventually draw in China, whose rise is seen as a challenge to the U.S.-dominated economic architecture in the region.