Countries involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade talks will tackle contentious issues including tariff removal and intellectual property rights on the third day of a ministerial conference Monday in Singapore.
On the margin of a plenary session, Tokyo and Washington are seeking to solve outstanding bilateral issues of whether Japan can retain tariffs on its sensitive farm goods and the phase-out period of U.S. auto duties. But a Japanese minister attending the four-day conference through Tuesday said more working-level bargaining needs to be done before bringing the issues to the ministerial level.
Akira Amari, Japan’s minister in charge of the TPP, and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman held bilateral talks over the issues on Saturday.
Holding ministerial talks without enough preparation is “not necessarily a good idea,” Amari told reporters Monday morning, suggesting that many differences remain between the two sides.
“We need to know (before setting up next ministerial talks) that we won’t end up having the same results” as the previous bilateral meeting, he said.