Chief negotiators of 12 countries involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade negotiations will meet in Washington from Wednesday and seek to streamline the talks to conclude a deal by year-end.
During meetings through Saturday, the negotiators of the United States, Japan and other Pacific Rim countries are expected to assess the progress of the talks stretching over 21 fields and sort what issues can be dealt with at a working level from those that need to be settled at a higher political level.
The member countries will hold a TPP summit and ministerial meetings next month in Bali, Indonesia, where they aim to reach a basic agreement for the creation of one of the world’s largest free trade zones covering about a third of world trade.
Speaking at a press conference Tuesday in Tokyo, Japan’s TPP minister Akira Amari said he will closely monitor developments this week as they could alter the outcome of the Bali meeting.
The Washington gathering, Amari said, “plays a major role in whether or not we can achieve the basic agreement itself.”
The chief negotiator meeting will run in parallel with a working group session on tariff elimination scheduled for Friday to Monday in Washington.
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