Trade ministers say they are closing in on TPP deal

Trade ministers said on Tuesday that they made progress during two days of Asia-Pacific negotiations in Singapore although a deal has yet to emerge.

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) ministers said that during a "series of positive meetings we cemented our shared views on what is needed to bring negotiations to a close."

“We focused in particular on making meaningful progress on market access and also advanced outstanding rules issues in an effort to narrow our remaining differences," the ministers and heads of delegation said in a statement. 

Neither the ministers nor U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman provided any specifics on what issues have been resolved during the latest round of talks. 

But in a call with reporters earlier on Tuesday, Froman did say that “we are very far along in that the outstanding issues, while meaningful and significant, are a relatively modest number."

The ministers said they reviewed recent bilateral engagements, including the U.S.-Japan talks that involved President Obama last month, as well as the outcome of meetings last week in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. 

“In order to further build on the momentum of negotiations, we have decided on a pathway of intensified engagement over the coming weeks on market access and rules,” they said.

As part of that effort, the chief negotiators will meet in July while the ministers continue bilateral talks.

Besides Japan and the United States the 10 other countries are — Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Vietnam, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru and Singapore.