TOKYO: Japan’s top government spokesman said on Saturday he desired the swift passage of a US Bill that is part of a package central to President Barack Obama’s push for a Pacific Rim trade pact. Democrats in the US House of Representatives on Friday disregarded Obama’s personal pleas and teamed up with Republicans to overwhelmingly defeat the TAA programme that helps American workers who lose their jobs as a result of trade deals. “We would like to see the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Bill passed as soon as possible,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters in Tokyo. The House narrowly approved a separate measure to give Obama ‘fast-track’ authority to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal. Both measures are included in one Bill and both need to be approved before the legislation can clear the House.

Cairn merger talks

MUMBAI: The boards of oil company Cairn India and its parent, Vedanta Ltd, will meet on Sunday to discuss a potential merger, both companies said. Vedanta Ltd is the operating unit of London-listed mining and energy group Vedanta Resources Plc. Vedanta this week signalled it was considering merging the two Indian units, as it tries to resolve a mismatch between its debt, held at the top of the group, and its cash, largely generated by subsidiaries, including Cairn. In separate notices to the Bombay Stock Exchange on Saturday, the companies said their boards would meet to ‘consider and evaluate’ a merger. On Friday, Oil Minister

Dharmendra Pradhan told Reuters he had met Cairn executives this week to discuss the potential merger and a source familiar with the matter had said the deal could be announced as early as Sunday.

German debt report

BERLIN: Germany’s finance ministry denied a report on Saturday that its officials were working on a plan to allow an orderly debt restructuring for any country that becomes insolvent. German magazine Der Spiegel had reported that Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble asked officials to draft plans for a system of debt restructuring for any insolvent country so that it could stay in the euro. Greece is negotiating for loans in exchange for reforms so that it can repay debts due in the coming weeks and avoid default. But on Saturday, a spokesman for the finance ministry denied that any preparation of such a framework was taking place.