U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said this week before the House Ways and Means Committee that it is possible that the Obama administration could conclude talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)  by the end of this year.  “It’s ambitious, but I think it’s doable,” Froman told the committee.  Negotiators are currently in Malaysia for the 18th round of talks on “a 21st century agreement that raises standards and introduces new disciplines beyond any agreement negotiated before,” he said.  The Trans-Pacific Partnership currently involves 11 countries, and Japan will join next week.

Some believe that Japan’s addition to TPP could complicate negotiations and perhaps delay the deal. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) expressed concern during the hearing about Japan’s nontariff barriers to trade and said resolution is “critical to ensure TPP this year.”