BALI, Indonesia (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says talks on a trans-Pacific trade pact are forging ahead despite President Barack Obama's absence due to the government shutdown.
Both Kerry and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said Saturday that ministers working to put together a framework for the trading bloc still hoped to meet a self-imposed year-end deadline for reaching agreement.
Obama had intended to thrash out issues with leaders of the 11 other TPP member countries on the sidelines of the Asian-Pacific regional summit in Bali on Monday and Tuesday.
Obama considers the trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, a vital part of his focus on Asia and for job creation back in the U.S.
The TPP includes Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States and Vietnam.