The 12 countries taking part in the negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement will hold ministerial-level talks in late May in the Philippines, following talks among their chief negotiators in Guam. As the countries step up their efforts to reach a broad agreement on major issues at the ministerial meeting, Japan and the United States, the two biggest economies among the participants, are hoping to round up their TPP-related bilateral negotiations.

Some argue that since China’s initiative to create the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is gaining momentum, attracting not only Asian economies but also major European powers as founding members, serious efforts should be made to wrap up the TPP talks now to establish a framework of economic cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region led by the U.S. and Japan to counter China’s rising clout.

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