Agricultural exports, including selected fresh fruit and vegetable lines, continue to be a stumbling block in Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations between Japan and the US.
Trade representatives from both nations continued to discuss the terms of the landmark pact in Japan on Tuesday (21 April), however, a number of sticking points still remain.
“The gap was substantially narrowed but continued work is ultimately required to resolve these issues,” US trade representative Michael Froman was quoted as saying by the New Zealand Herald following the discussions.
While the ground rules of the TPP largely forbid the disclosure of negotiation details, it is understood that Japan is keen to gain improved access to the US market for its automotive products. The US is looking to ramp-up its sale of farm products, including fresh produce and meat, into the Asian nation, according to the New Zealand Herald.
Japan's economy minister, Akira Amari, suggested it was unlikely any headway would be made before Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visits the US later this month, although he was optimistic some resolutions could be made at upcoming 12-nation TPP talks. Twelve nations are involved in discussions surrounding the formation of the TPP, which aims to create a free trade zone in the Asia-Pacific region.