Tariff deal for Pacific -- a work in progress

Aug. 24, 2013 at 12:06 PM
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BANDA SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei, Aug. 24 (UPI) -- The head of Japan's Trans-Pacific Partnership delegation said a trade agreement among the 12 participating countries this year would take considerable work.

"The participating countries will be required to put in significant effort," TPP Minister Akira Amari said at a press conference in Brunei, The Mainichi reported Saturday.

Delegates that the TPP conference agreed to speed up efforts to reach an agreement, but a comprehensive deal appears to be far off, the newspaper said.

Japan intends to keep tariffs on dairy, wheat and rice products in place. At odds with that position are dairy export countries, such as New Zealand, the United States and Canada, all of which are looking for accommodating policies that also protect their own farmers.

Agreements have been reached on food safety and telecommunications, but countries remain divided on fishing, farming and the automobile industry, The Mainichi reported.

There is general expectation that a comprehensive agreement would be reached before the October meeting of the Asia-Pacific Cooperation summit, but Amari said completion of an agreement by then would be difficult.

"We won't have all the details down, but will aim for an agreement on the major issues," he said.

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