The Japanese minister in charge of negotiations for a Pacific Rim free trade initiative said Friday that talks on the free trade deal will not be concluded anytime soon if the 12 member countries fail to strike an accord at an upcoming meeting starting late September.
“There is a risk that an agreement will be put off for years” if no deal is reached at the next session, Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Akira Amari said at a press conference.
A two-day meeting of ministers from the United States, Japan, Canada and nine other nations negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership will begin Sept. 30 in Atlanta, as they seek to conclude years of talks on creating one of the world’s biggest free trade zones, a negotiation source said earlier this week.
The new framework would have a significant impact on the global economy, as the free trade zone would cover 40 percent of worldwide output.
The minister referred to a general election in Canada slated for Oct. 19 as a possible challenge that could derail efforts by the TPP members to reach a deal as early as possible. Canada could change its trade policy under a new government that could be established following the election.