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Economy

'TPP 11' faces new challenges as clock ticks down

New Zealand's demand for renegotiation could obliterate tenuous agreement

Kazuyoshi Umemoto, center, Japan's chief negotiator on the so-called TPP 11, addresses his peers in Tokyo.

TOKYO -- Recent political developments have clouded negotiations on reconstituting the Trans-Pacific Partnership without the U.S. just two weeks before Japan and 10 other nations hope to reach a broad agreement on the trade pact, threatening to scuttle the effort in its final stretch.

Chief negotiators from the 11 remaining TPP nations are preparing to meet outside Tokyo starting Monday, hoping to hammer out a general agreement early next month in Vietnam on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. But New Zealand, a leading proponent of the "TPP 11" effort, suddenly seems to be wavering. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who took office Thursday, has pledged to renegotiate the trade deal, seeking restrictions on foreign real estate investment.

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