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    US Secretary of State John Kerry

    Progress Made Toward Trans-Pacific Free Trade Deal - Kerry

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    US Secretary of State John Kerry gave a positive assessment on Tuesday of the talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement held in Hawaii last week.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) The most recent round of negotiations on the ambitious trade deal was held on the Hawaiian island of Maui. The four-day ministerial talks failed to result in a free trade zone agreement mainly due to negotiating states' differences on a number of issues in the automobile, pharmaceutical and agricultural sectors.

    "We made progress, good progress, in our negotiations toward one of the most significant trade agreements in history, the Trans-Pacific Partnership," The New York Times quoted Kerry as saying in a speech at Singapore Management University.

    Kerry expressed confidence that the TPP would be completed, despite the delays.

    The TPP, a top priority for the Obama administration, is a controversial trade pact currently being negotiated in unusual secrecy between the United States and 11 Asian and Pacific Rim nations including Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Mexico, Taiwan, South Korea, and Malaysia. The deal is expected to cover about 40 percent of the global economy.

    On June 29, President Barack Obama signed the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which gives him the authority to fast-track negotiations on international free trade agreements, such as the TPP, without Congress being able to amend the resultant deal. However, the move has so far failed produce an agreement in the negotiations between the 12 nations.


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