Japan joins TPP free trade talks in Malaysia

Updated: 2013-07-23 22:01


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KUALA LUMPUR - Japan became the 12th member of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations on Tuesday as it officially joined the ongoing free trade talks in Malaysia.

The Japanese delegation of more than 100 officials was only able to join the 18th round of negotiations in Malaysia's resort city of Kota Kinabalu after the United States concluded its domestic procedure to include Japan in the negotiations.

Negotiators from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam have convened since July 15 as they are rushing to the deadline of concluding the negotiations by October, when leaders from TPP countries, including US President Barack Obama, attends the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Indonesia.

The 18th round of TPP negotiations is scheduled to end on Thursday when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is due to begin his third trip to southeast Asia since he took office last December, including Malaysia, Sinapore and the Philippines.