WASHINGTON, Sept. 24 -- Two days of Trans-Pacific Partnership talks between top negotiators for the U.S. and Japan failed to produce any progress on critical issues involving agriculture and automobiles, the office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) said.

USTR Michael Froman, Japanese Minister for Economic and Fiscal Policy Akira Amari and their teams met in Washington on Tuesday and Wednesday following lower level talks.

“While there were constructive working level discussions over the weekend, we were unable to make further progress on key outstanding issues,” according to a news release from the USTR’s office Wednesday night.

“The United States continues to demonstrate a commitment to the level that all TPP countries agreed to attain when they entered negotiations,” the release said, adding that the two sides will consult with their governments before deciding on the next steps.

The TPP is a trade agreement the U.S. is negotiating with 11 countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region, an area that represents 40 percent of global trade.

The talks have been hung up on Japan’s reluctance to reduce tariffs on its so-called “sacred” agricultural products, which include rice, dairy, beef and pork, wheat and sugar. The U.S. is also insisting on greater access to Japan’s automobile market.


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