US envoy urges Japan businesses to push for trans-Pacific free trade pact

Energy Associated Press

A top U.S. envoy says Japan and the U.S. are moving closer to agreement on market opening measures but pressure from Japan's business community is needed to bridge the last, difficult disagreements.

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U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken urged the executives of major Japanese companies to use their influence push for the trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP.

Agreement between Japan and the U.S. is essential for forging the free-trade arrangements among the dozen nations that are negotiating the U.S.-led effort.

Blinken was wrapping up an East Asian tour that took in South Korea, China and Japan.

He stressed the importance of avoiding disruptions to shipping from territorial disputes, saying that the needs of business take precedence over "squabbles over rocks and shoals."