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Time to 'put up with or shut up on' key trade talks

With the latest round of talks to reach a key multi-lateral trade agreement underway in Singapore, it's time to "put up or shut-up," said a senior official from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Negotiations to wrap up the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) pact stalled at the end of last year.

Japan, the U.S. and 10 other countries including Australia and Singapore are involved in the TPP talks with thorny issues including tariffs, intellectual property rights and state-run enterprises.

(Read more: US Trad Rep 'not disappointed' by TPP talks)


Trade ministers and representatives attend the TPP  Ministerial Meeting in Singapore on February 22, 2014.
Roslan Rahman | AFP | Getty Images
Trade ministers and representatives attend the TPP Ministerial Meeting in Singapore on February 22, 2014.

Tami Overby, vice president for Asia at U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said the delay in sealing the pact was because negotiators were trying to achieve "some really hard things."

"The deadline is not nearly as important as ending up with a comprehensive high-standard agreement," she told CNBC Asia's "Squawk Box" on Monday.

"We started this to be a 21st century agreement and these like-minded countries came in knowing that they're putting everything on the table. Now is the time to put up or shut up," she added.

(Read more: Ten trends that will shape Asia in 2014)

Japan's Economics Minister was quoted by Reuters last week as saying that Tokyo could make concession on some sensitive farm products.

The U.S. has urged Japan to end all tariffs in five categories of rice, beef and pork, dairy products, wheat and sugar, according to media reports. Japan meanwhile wants Washington to set a timeline for scrapping tariffs of 2.5 percent on imports of passenger cars and 25 percent on light trucks.

"Every country has their sensitivities and there are ways to approach this – longer phase outs for instance," said Overby. "There are still some hard things to do but there is progress."

(Read more: Japan PM keen to cut corporate tax rate)

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has flagged the TPP as a key part of his agenda to revive the country's growth prospects after years of deflation and lackluster growth. He has faced opposition from Japan's powerful farm lobby to opening up local markets.

— Writing by CNBC's Dhara Ranasinghe. Follow her on Twitter at @DharaCNBC