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[TOKYO] Japan's top government spokesman said on Wednesday that a fast-track bill in the United States was necessary for the creation of a 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a free trade zone covering 40 per cent of the world economy.
US President Barack Obama's push for the pan-Pacific trade pact suffered a major blow on Tuesday when Senate Democrats blocked debate on the fast track bill. "Each negotiation member nation considers the TPA (Trade Promotion Authority) bill indispensable towards an early agreement on TPP talks," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference. "Japan strongly hopes an early enactment of the bill in the US" Under fast-track, Congress can approve or reject trade deals negotiated by the administration but not amend deals such as the TPP, a potential legacy-defining achievement for Obama.