6 Dec 2013

TPP talks going down to the wire

9:46 am on 6 December 2013

Trade Ministers meet this weekend for their last chance to secure a Pacific-wide regional trade deal before a self-imposed deadline of the end of the year.

New Zealand's Tim Groser will join 11 counterparts in Singapore for four days of talks from Saturday to try to reach an agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks.

The negotiations have been going for three years, marked by criticism over a lack of transparency and arguments between the United States and other countries over key issues like tougher copyright and patent protection rules.

International Business Forum executive director Stephen Jacobi is cautiously optimistic of a breakthrough but says the ministers should not sacrifice a quality agreement to get it done quickly.

Opponents of the TPP also believe an agreement is close. They expect political leaders will accept tighter intellectual property rules in exchange for greater access to the US market.

Anti-TPP protests are planned in Australia, the United States and Japan during the weekend.

Radio New Zealand 's Insight programme at 8am on Sunday has more on the TPP talks.