Japan and the United States have made progress on a two-way trade deal but a gap remains and effort is needed to come to a final compromise, a top official in Japan’s cabinet said.

Yasutoshi Nishimura, senior vice-minister of the Cabinet Office, told reporters in New York the two countries were in the “last stretch” of a deal vital to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-nation bloc that would extend from Asia to Latin America.

“I believe there was some progress” in talks last week, though “of course there still remains a gap and we have to make efforts to come to a compromise,” he said through a translator, after presenting at a conference. “The last stretch is not going to be easy.” (Reuters)