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General Motors Tuesday announced that company veteran Mary Barra would succeed Dan Akerson as chief executive, becoming the first woman to lead the largest US automaker. Barra, 51, currently executive vice president for global product development, purchasing and supply chain, will assume the post on January 15. The announcement came just one day after the US Treasury sold its last shares in General Motors, closing the books on a 2008 bailout executed amid the financial crisis. GM and fellow US automakers Ford and Chrysler have gained on surging auto sales throughout 2013.
Talks on forming a huge US-led Pacific free trade area will resume next month after the 12 prospective members Tuesday gave up on meeting Washington's year-end deadline for a deal. US Trade Representative Michael Froman and his counterparts said they made "substantial progress" after four days of talks in Singapore on the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) but failed to resolve all issues. The TPP is being negotiated by Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam. The ministers had arrived in Singapore from the just-concluded World Trade Organisation talks in the Indonesian island of Bali.