Japan and US cannot agree in TPP talks

By Andrew MCDOUGALL contact

- Last updated on GMT

Japan and US cannot agree in TPP talks

Related tags: Asia-pacific

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks taking place in Canberra do not look any closer to a deal, as Japan and the US fail to make progress.

The trade deal is a proposed regional free-trade agreement, aiming to rid trade barriers in industries such as cosmetics in the 12 countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region that have participated in 2014 negotiations on the TPP.

These are: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam.

However Japan-US talks seem to have hit a stumbling block after Trade Minister Akira Amari said at a press conference: "Japan made a flexible proposal, but we weren't able to make further progress. Further negotiations are undecided."

Stalling

According to Reuters, Amari met with US Trade Representative Michael Froman, who last week urged Tokyo to ramp up efforts to break the standoff between the countries, which together constitute around 90% of the gross domestic product of the negotiating partners.

"The United States continues to demonstrate a commitment to the level of ambition that all TPP countries agreed to attain when they entered negotiations,"​ the US said in a statement.

The hopes are that the TPP talks reach a broad agreement by year-end to open up trade around the Pacific, although many people remain sceptical that the US and Japan are willing to make the sacrifices needed for a deal.

President Barack Obama said this year he wanted to conclude the talks by the time he travels to Asia in November.

However, when asked whether a TPP summit meeting would take place in Beijing, on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum this month, Amari said nothing had been discussed.

This contradicts Australian Trade Minister Andrew Robb who last week commented that “there is a real sense that we are within reach of the finish line.”

The official statement issued by the representatives of the 12 TPP countries insisted that “we have made significant progress” ​and that a treaty was “crystallising.” 

Related topics: Business & Financial

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