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S'pore hosts Pacific trade pact meeting

Asia-Pacific trade ministers began a fresh round of talks in Singapore yesterday for a huge US-led Pacific free trade area, hoping to conclude a deal this year after missing a deadline last year.

The four-day meeting of ministers from 12 countries covered by the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership comes after trade ministers from Singapore, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, the US and Vietnam met after ending talks in December with several issues still unresolved.

The countries have been divided on a number of matters, including opening up Japan's auto and farm markets as well as limiting the role of state-owned enterprises in the economy.