The failure of trade ministers from the 12 countries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade talks to reach a broad agreement in talks that were held in Maui, Hawaii, in late July may cast negotiations adrift for some time. Hopes that a deal could be reached had been strong because the talks will effectively be derailed once the campaigning for the 2016 U.S. presidential race gets into full swing later this year, making a deal under the administration of President Barack Obama difficult. It remains uncertain when the next ministerial talks will be held.
Still, the rupture of the talks may not be all bad news for Japan. According to some details of the negotiations that came to light, Japan appears to have been ready to make major concessions in order to strike a deal, including the creation of a new quota for rice imports as well as cuts to import tariffs on pork and beef — part of what has been called “sanctuary” farm trade areas that also include wheat, dairy products and agricultural foodstuffs for the manufacture of sugar.