U.S., 11 Partners Set Gathering in Hopes of Finishing Pacific Trade Deal

AsiaDow Jones Newswires

The Obama administration will host a high-level trade meeting in late July in an effort to conclude a sweeping Pacific trade pact, after winning key legislation in Congress last month to expedite U.S. approval.

U.S. Trade Representative Mike Froman will join trade ministers from Japan, Vietnam and nine other countries around the Pacific on Hawaii's island of Maui from July 28-31, Mr. Froman's office said in a statement Tuesday. Other officials will gather earlier for lower-level talks on the trade agreement, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP.

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After passing so-called fast-track legislation through Congress and signing it into law, President Barack Obama and top U.S. officials have renewed efforts to work with other countries in the proposed bloc on coming to an agreement on the politically sensitive issues that remain.

Officials from the U.S. and Japan are set to meet Thursday to close gaps on auto and agriculture trade. An understanding between the two biggest economies in the group would help pave the way for a 12-nation agreement on issues ranging from intellectual-property protection to environmental and labor standards.

The Pacific deal has faced setbacks and delays many times, and there is no guarantee that the countries will be able come to an agreement in Hawaii or this summer.

(By William Mauldin)