(Sept 4): Hopes of finishing a monster Asia-Pacific trade pact by year’s end, and pushing back against a wave of protectionism, may be headed for disappointment again.

The 16 members of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership have been eyeing November as a tentative deadline to close the deal after seven years of negotiations. Talks have been mired in disagreements around how to regulate e-commerce and labor migration, among other issues.

Now, under the weight of trade-war pressures, regional trade spats and a global economic slowdown, that deadline is looking less realistic.

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