MELBOURNE, Oct 25 – Australia’s Trade Minister Andrew Robb says the Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement (TPPA) is starting to take shape and “should be concluded by year’s end”, the Australian Associated Press reports. The deal will send a signal about the importance of the Asia-Pacific region, especially during a time of economic and geo-political instability, Robb told ministers from 12 nations involved in negotiating the pact in Sydney today.

The deal is set to cover 40 per cent of the global economy. “We are trying to make as many final decisions as we can and bring this thing to conclusion,” he told counterparts, including those from the United States, Malaysia, Canada, Japan and New Zealand. Malaysia’s Trade Minister, Datuk Mustapa Mohamed is representing Malaysia at the three-day meeting.

Robb earlier dismissed fears the price of medicine would go up. “Those who are opposed to this scheme for all sorts of reasons are peddling a lot of misinformation, saying pharmacy costs will go up. “This is not the intention or the outcome that will occur with this particular 21st century agreement,” he told ABC Radio.

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