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Pacific Trade Negotiators Urged to Create a Path for Japan Role

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Dec. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Negotiators from nine Pacific nations seeking a trade agreement should create a path for countries including Japan to join eventually, most likely after an initial accord is reached, Representative Kevin Brady said.

“We think mid-year is a goal and a target” for completing negotiations, Brady, a Texas Republican, said today in an interview at Bloomberg’s Washington office before leading a House committee hearing on the talks. “We don’t want to see it continue indefinitely.”

The Obama administration is in negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal with Australia, Chile, Peru and Singapore, all of which have separate free-trade accords with the U.S., along with Malaysia, New Zealand, Vietnam and Brunei. Two-way trade between the U.S. and the eight nations was $171 billion last year. Canada, Mexico and Japan have expressed interest in joining the talks. If they do, it would be the largest free-trade deal ever for the U.S.

Brady, chairman of the trade panel of the House Ways and Means Committee, said the countries involved in talks should make it possible for additional nations to “merge, whether it’s before negotiations are over or more likely after.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Eric Martin in Washington at emartin21@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Liebert at lliebert@bloomberg.net

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