US-led Pacific trade pact under discussion in Singapore
SINGAPORE (AFP) - Asia Pacific trade ministers began a fresh round of talks in Singapore on Saturday for a huge US-led Pacific free trade area, hoping to conclude a deal this year after missing a deadline in 2013.
The four-day meeting of ministers from 12 countries covered by the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) comes after their chief negotiators completed five days of talks also held in the city-state.
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said ahead of the meeting that negotiators were "very close" to completing a pact this year, but some ministers involved in negotiating the agreement think it could take longer.
Trade ministers from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US and Vietnam reconvened in Singapore after ending talks in December with several issues still unresolved.