APEC Leaders to Push for Free Trade Bloc

Posted November 12th, 2011 at 4:20 am (UTC-5)
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U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk says he expects Asia-Pacific leaders will announce the broad outlines of a regional trade bloc when they meet in Hawaii on Saturday and Sunday.

Kirk told trade ministers at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Honolulu Friday that the so-called Trans-Pacific Partnership is intended to complement other efforts to promote freer trade and could lead to a free trade zone in the Asia-Pacific region.

Kirk welcomed Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's decision Friday to join the dialogue. But he cautioned that Japan must be ready to address barriers in agriculture, services and manufacturing.