Pacific Rim free trade talks unlikely to end in deal

The talks were halted after a dispute flared between Japan and North America over autos, New Zealand dug in over dairy trade and no agreement was reached on monopoly periods for next-generation drugs.


At a press conference in Hawaii, US Trade Representative Michael Froman said the week of negotiations involving officials and trade ministers from the 12 nations involved in the TPP initiative had made “significant progress and will continue to work on resolving the limited number of remaining issues“, paving the way for an agreement to be reached.

Japan’s economic minister says he thinks a deal can be reached with one more meeting.

While continuing studying the impact of these proposed new regional free trade deals, China has stepped up its efforts to accelerate its own free trade zone strategies in recent years as an important part of a new round of reform and opening-up.

Orrin Hatch (R-UT), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, singles out biologics and warns that “a strong intellectual-property chapter-including strong patent and regulatory data protections for biologics-is vital to securing congressional support for this trade deal”.

The failure by trade ministers to get the accord over the line on Friday are a blow to Obama – who has faced opposition to the deal from fellow Democrats – as it could see the TPP become campaign fodder with the United States facing elections in November 2016.

If the deal goes through, the Trans-Pacific Partnership would lower trade barriers and affect 40 percent of the global economy.

But issues pegged as sticking points going into the talks were still blocking a deal after four days of discussions.

“Ministers and negotiators leave Hawaii committed to build on the momentum of this meeting by staying in close contact as negotiators continue their intensive engagement to find common ground”, they said in a statement. U.S. drugmakers want 12 years, but Australia wants five.


Ministers will likely head home from Maui with no set date for their next meeting. Japan also wants the United States to quickly drop duties on Japanese auto parts going to the United States.

FILE- Acting Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Wendy Cutler is greeted by her Japanese counterpart Hiroshi Oe before their talks of the Trans Pacific Partnership free trade negotiations at the Foreign Ministry in Tokyo July 2015