TPP talks with U.S. see no progress

Kyodo

Japan and the United States made no major progress on the Trans-Pacific Partnership as bilateral negotiations ended Monday in Washington, with an agreement on sensitive tariffs proving elusive.

During the four-day session, the first of its kind since the two sides exchanged proposed lists of tariff-free items, Tokyo called for the elimination of U.S. tariffs on Japanese auto and other manufactured goods, while Washington requested that Japan’s tariffs on farm products be scrapped.

Much work has been left for subsequent sessions to be held from October onward, negotiation sources said.

Separately, the two countries and the 10 other TPP members also finished four days of working-group talks on market access, centering on the abolition of tariffs on agricultural and manufacturing goods.

Meanwhile, Japan held bilateral tariff negotiations with TPP countries it had yet to meet with face to face since becoming the 12th member of the trade liberalization talks in late July. They included Canada and Chile.

The TPP members aim to reach a basic agreement when their leaders gather next month for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Bali, Indonesia, and to conclude a final deal this year. While decisions on specific items for tariff elimination are unlikely to be cited in the basic agreement, the negotiations are expected to be speeded up to meet the yearend target.