Kerry con­fi­dent of con­clud­ing TPP trade pact this year

The Pak Banker - - BUSINESS -

US Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry ex­pressed con­fi­dence on Fri­day that an am­bi­tious Pa­cific trade pact could be com­pleted this year and said a re­cent nu­clear deal with Iran proved hur­dles in in­ter­na­tional agree­ments could be over­come.

Kerry said many chal­lenges re­mained in thrash­ing out a Tran­sPa­cific Part­ner­ship (TPP), par­tic­u­larly on is­sues of autos and dairy, but the US would do ev­ery­thing in its power to make it hap­pen.

"There are a few re­main­ing is­sues ... which I am con­fi­dent will be re­solved," Kerry told a news joint con­fer­ence with Viet­namese For­eign Min­is­ter Pham Binh Minh in Hanoi. "We are hop­ing very much that over the course of the next cou­ple of months, be­fore the end of the year, TPP can be com­pleted," he said.

The US-inspired TPP is a "mega re­gional" ac­cord set to cover 12 coun­tries with a com­bined gross do­mes­tic prod­uct of $28 tril­lion (Dh102 tril­lion), among them Aus­tralia and Ja­pan. Kerry likened the TPP talks to a deal ne­go­ti­ated over 18 months be­tween Iran and six other coun­tries to lift sanc­tions in re­turn for curbs on a nu­clear pro­gramme Iran in­sists is peace­ful.

"It's very com­pli­cated. I will tell you that hav­ing just ne­go­ti­ated with Iran ... there were six of us all with ex­per­tise, all with our own opin­ions and we had to come to­gether in or­der to agree on what we would then ne­go­ti­ate with Iran. "This is the same thing," he said of the TPP.

The TPP would con­nect the 12 economies by cut­ting trade bar­ri­ers and har­mon­is­ing stan­dards cov­er­ing twofifths of the world econ­omy and a third of global trade.

TPP trade min­is­ters dis­cussing the pact, which would stretch from Ja­pan to Chile, have said an agree­ment is within reach, de­spite the fail­ure last week to set­tle dif­fer­ences at talks in Hawaii. Kerry met Viet­namese Pres­i­dent Truong Tan Sang and said it was cru­cial to iron out re­main­ing is­sues.

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