Delay in Pacific trade pact hurts US shift to Asia

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Associated Press

Posted on December 11, 2013 at 3:35 AM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 11 at 7:03 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The failure to finalize a landmark trans-Pacific trade pact this year as planned has dealt a blow to President Barack Obama's policy shift to Asia.

While negotiators say they have made substantial progress, myriad hurdles remain to creating a bloc encompassing a third of global trade. One of the biggest hurdles will be winning the backing of Congress.

As recently as October, the leaders of the 12 nations in the Trans-Pacific Partnership had said their goal was to reach agreement by the end of 2013, although most analysts had viewed that as unrealistic.

Labor groups and some Democratic lawmakers pounced on the indecisive outcome Tuesday of closed-door deliberations by trade ministers in Singapore.

To smooth passage of an eventual deal, the Obama administration will need strong Republican support.

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