Trade leaders from across the Pacific have gathered in Singapore this week to resume negotiations surrounding the formation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Twelve nations have signed up to be part of the landmark trade pact, however, talks have stalled over recent months following bilateral disagreements between Japan and the US.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and US president Barack Obama were unable to reach an agreement on agricultural tariffs during a sit-down meeting last month.
However, communication lines between the two nations appear to have reopened, with Japanese economic minister Akira Amari confirming he met with US trade representative Michael Froman on Monday.
Former Obama administration official Matthew Goodman told the Australian Broadcasting Commission he believed both countries were keen to reach an agreement, in the hope of fast-tracking the TPP deal.
“The US and Japan share most of the views on the rules of the international trading system, and so I don't think there's much disagreement on that. I think the real problem is on some of these longstanding market access issues,” Goodman said. “Japan has a very protected agricultural market in particular, and I think the US sees TPP as an opportunity to really break through on those issues.”
While trade representatives are unlikely to sign-off on the multinational deal this week, Amari said officials are showing a renewed sense of urgency at the negotiation table.
“Ideally, all countries should agree on a time frame for completing talks at a chief-negotiator level,” Amari told the Wall Street Journal.