Pacific free trade deal seen in first quarter of 2015 - Chile

Fri Dec 5, 2014 12:13pm EST
 
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SANTIAGO Dec 5 (Reuters) - A deal on an ambitious 12-nation Asia-Pacific trade pact should be finalized in the first quarter of 2015, a senior Chilean official told Reuters on Friday.

The planned Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has faced stumbling blocks, largely because of wrangling between the pact's two biggest economies, the United States and Japan, over agricultural tariffs.

But there was a lot of pressure from the United States to close a deal, said Chile's head of international economic relations, Andres Rebolledo, on the sidelines of an International Monetary Fund regional conference in Santiago.

"We are in the final stretch," said Rebolledo, who has overall responsibility for the trade talks in Chile.

A meeting of TPP chief negotiators is due to take place in Washington next week.

Negotiations made significant progress at a meeting in Australia in October but there was still a gap between Japan and the United States over market access and other hurdles, trade representatives said at the time. (Reporting by Rosalba O'Brien; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)