Japan Still Has Chance to Join Pacific Trade Deal, Says U.S.
Japan, Mexico and Canada may participate in a Pacific-region trade accord, though they won’t be able to alter any aspects of the deal that have already been established, according to a senior U.S. negotiator.
There is still an opportunity for the three countries to join, said the official, who spoke to reporters on background from the sidelines of trade discussions near Dallas.
Representatives from nine countries are meeting this week for the latest round of negotiations in the so-called Trans- Pacific Partnership. The countries working toward a final agreement with the U.S. are Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Officials from Japan, Mexico and Canada have expressed interest in joining as well. Adding the three nations would create the largest such trade agreement in U.S. history.
Existing participants in the talks are conducting their own discussions with the candidate countries, and no final decision has been made on expanding the group’s membership, according to the official.
Negotiators working on an agreement to boost trade for small- and medium-sized businesses have concluded their talks and won’t have to participate in further multilateral meetings, the U.S. official said.
Participants are discussing lowering barriers to trade in areas including e-commerce, textiles, intellectual property and health measures, the office of the U.S. Trade Representative said in a statement today.
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