Australia trade minister says US Congress has only a few weeks to save Asia-Pacific trade deal

Australia's trade minister says Congress has only a few weeks left to pass key trade legislation that would clear the way for clinching an Asia-Pacific trade accord.

The U.S. House of Representatives last week rejected legislation crucial to U.S. involvement in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which intends to create a region-wide free-trade area, including Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Trade Minister Andrew Robb on Wednesday would not speculate on how continuing negotiations in the House of Representatives might end.

But Robb told Australian Broadcasting Corp. that "if it's not dealt with in the next two or three weeks, I think we've got a real problem with the future of the TPP."