Obama says Pacific trade deal can be struck 'this year'

US President Barack Obama speaks to members of the Business Roundtable at their headquarters in Washington, DC on September 16, 2015US President Barack Obama on Wednesday expressed optimism that a vast Pacific trade deal can be reached before the end of the year, despite disputes over rules for key sectors. “Trade ministers should be meeting again sometime in the next several weeks, they have the opportunity to close the deal,” Obama said. Already eight years in the making, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would be a huge bloc encompassing 40 percent of global trade and part of Obama’s much-vaunted “pivot” towards Asia in the face of an increasingly assertive China, which is not included.

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