• Kyodo

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Ministers from 21 Pacific Rim economies agreed in principle on the importance of free trade and multilateral frameworks but struggled to produce a statement at the end of extended two-day talks on Thursday, Japan’s trade minister said.

In a rare development, the ministers of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum decided the previous day to extend discussions after failing to reach a consensus on a joint statement. Concerns are mounting over the new trade policy pursued by U.S. President Donald Trump that pushes for bilateral trade deals over multilateral trade frameworks.

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