Pacific Rim countries pursuing a free trade initiative are arranging to hold ministerial talks from July 28 in Hawaii with the aim of reaching a broad agreement there, Japanese Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Akira Amari said Tuesday.
The United States, Japan and 10 other countries came up with the plan amid growing hopes for an early signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership after U.S. President Barack Obama was granted the power last week to seek congressional approval for trade deals with limited interference by lawmakers.
One negotiation source said the ministerial meeting will take place for two days through July 29, but Amari said it is undecided how long the negotiations will last.
Amari told a press conference that Japan is willing to “play the last card” at the planned ministerial meeting to end the prolonged TPP negotiations, and urged other members of the initiative to do so as well.
The talks among ministerial-level officials from the 12 countries will follow “several days of meetings there between chief negotiators” for the TPP, according to a report by the Inside U.S. Trade magazine.
It remains uncertain whether the negotiations will conclude through the planned ministerial meeting, the report said, noting the talks will take place even if the chief negotiators fail to make progress.
The ministers involved in the TPP negotiations last met in November on the sidelines of an international conference in Beijing.