Some countries participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) pact are becoming increasingly frustrated as a deadlock in Japan-U.S. negotiations on tariffs has blocked progress of the entire talks.
Negotiators representing the governments of nations involved in the TPP talks are in last-minute talks with the goal of reaching a final agreement at a ministerial meeting to commence in Singapore on Feb. 22.
The U.S. government has dispatched negotiators to the concerned countries in a bid to break a deadlock over sticking issues, such as the reform of state-owned enterprises. Still, little progress has been made on Japan-U.S. talks that will have a bearing on TPP negotiations as a whole, and there is no prospect that the parties will reach a final agreement in the foreseeable future.
At the last ministerial conference in Singapore in December 2013, the countries participating in the talks abandoned their goal to reach an agreement by the end of the year.
The upcoming Singapore ministerial conference is a second attempt to conclude the talks, and one Japanese official commented, “If a final decision is put off once again, the participating countries will lose enthusiasm and won’t have another chance.”
“We can’t postpone an agreement a second time,” the official said.
Speculation is now growing that the upcoming ministerial conference itself will be delayed unless there are clear prospects for reaching an agreement.
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