US official sees Pacific Rim trade pact talks taking time
BEIJING (REUTERS) - Negotiations on a trade pact between a dozen countries around the Pacific Rim will take whatever time they need as the deal has to be both ambitious and comprehensive, US trade representative Michael Froman said on Saturday.
The US-backed deal, which Washington had wanted to conclude this year, aims to establish a free-trade bloc stretching from Vietnam to Chile and Japan, encompassing about 800 million people and almost 40 per cent of the global economy.
But differences over farm tariffs between the United States and Japan have proved to be one of the major roadblocks and it will now not be finalised this year.
"I think we're focused on trying to reach agreement among the 12 countries as soon as possible, but based on it being an ambitious, comprehensive, high-standard agreement and we'll take whatever time is necessary to do that, letting the substance of the negotiations dictate the timetable," Mr Froman told Reuters.