WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States wants to “substantially complete” negotiations on a free trade agreement with eight other countries in the Asia Pacific region by the time President Barack Obama hosts a regional summit in November, the top U.S. trade official said on Friday.
The United States sees completion of the pact as key to increasing U.S. exports in the fast-growing Asia Pacific region, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said in a speech to the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
“We’ve had five rounds already. We are moving at an extraordinarily fast pace because our goal is to see if we can’t be substantially complete by the time President Obama hosts” the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit meeting in Hawaii, Kirk said.
The United States is negotiating the agreement with Vietnam, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Singapore, Peru and Brunei.
The goal is to produce the “most broadly liberalizing trade agreement with the strongest labor, environment, intellectual property rights provisions of any trade agreement that’s been negotiated,” Kirk said.
Reporting by Doug Palmer; editing by Will Dunham