Japan's Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Akira Amari said Thursday an upcoming ministerial meeting of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries in Australia will be extremely important vital for the early conclusion of a multilateral free trade agreement.
Amari made remarks after a Cabinet meeting on the TPP ahead of the ministerial conference scheduled from Saturday in Sydney.
"The negotiations are on the final phase. The Sydney meeting is crucial toward the conclusion of the TPP by the year-end. I will do utmost efforts to protect Japan's national interest," Amari, who is in charge of talks for the US-led TPP initiative, told a press conference.
The 12 Pacific Rim countries participating in the US-led regional free trade deal aim to achieve a broad agreement within this year, the Japanese Minister noted, adding that they have also been trying to bridge the gaps between their respective demands, such as tariffs on imported goods, protection of intellectual property rights, and preferential treatment for state-run companies.
Amari also noted that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and US President Barack Obama agreed last week to continue to work closely toward an early conclusion the TPP agreement.
The TPP member states; Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, US, and Vietnam account for almost 40 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP) and about one-third of all world trade.