WASHINGTON, April 25, 2014 – President Barack Obama’s two-day trip to Japan ended yesterday without a breakthrough on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), according to statements from the White House. According to a senior administration official, however, negotiators made progress in agriculture issues.
Negotiators took talks on the so-called five sacred products – dairy, wheat, beef and pork, sugar and rice – “to different levels,” the official said. “[I]n a number of the products we were able to identify what the path is going to be towards the ultimate resolution.”
The official said agriculture has become one of the main focuses of bilateral U.S.-Japan trade talks, which observers say must be completed before a larger, 12-nation TPP deal. Japan and U.S. are the largest economies involved in TPP negotiations.
“TPP held out the promise of opening that (agricultural) market and these talks today and yesterday were a critical part of doing that,” the official said.
TPP countries – Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam – account for nearly 40 percent of global GDP, or $28 trillion.
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