Japanese Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Akira Amari on Tuesday stressed the need to conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade talks by the end of this year, as the US mid-term elections are due in November.
"Leaders of the 12 TPP countries should share a common understanding that we exert maximum efforts toward the conclusion of the TPP within this year by the year-end," Amari, who is in charge of talks for the US-led TPP initiative, told a press conference.
"If decisions on the TPP are carried over to next year, American politicians will be preoccupied with the mid-term election campaigns. It is not desirable that the negotiations will stall for a long time," the minister said.
His remarks come after officials from 12 countries taking part in the TPP talks ended their latest round of meetings in Canada on Saturday without breakthroughs on such issues as tariffs, protection of intellectual property rights and preferential treatment for state-run companies. The TPP countries -- Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US and Vietnam account for almost 40 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP) and about one-third of all world trade.