Into the home stretch

FIVE years of trade negotiations, 29 chapters of dense rules and hundreds of tariff lines culminate, in one corner of Asia, in whirring spools of white fabric. Negotiators are still wrangling over the text that aims to establish a new Pacific trade zone, tying together 12 countries from America to Vietnam. But Penfabric, a textile company in Penang, north-western Malaysia, is not waiting around. In one of its mills, bright yellow flags distinguish rolls of high-end fabric from cheaper...

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