Trade officials from Japan and the United States resumed negotiations Monday over sticking issues related to market access for agricultural products such as beef and pork under a Pacific Rim free trade initiative.
Both governments will explore ways to strike a deal possibly this fall on Japan’s exceptional tariffs on some farm products so that plenary talks on the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership pact can make progress, a Japanese official said earlier.
A key topic in the talks between Hiroshi Oe, deputy chief TPP negotiator of Japan, and Wendy Cutler, acting deputy U.S. trade representative, will be whether the United States allows Japan to introduce safeguard measures for beef and pork when necessary.
Japan has told the United States it will keep tariffs on rice, wheat, beef and pork, dairy products and sugar even under the TPP. The gap has been a thorny issue between the two largest economies in the U.S.-led pact.
Japan has been considering lowering tariffs on beef and pork under a TPP deal and demanded the United States allow Japan to introduce measures to protect domestic livestock farmers that would limit imports of the products should they surge.
Tokyo and Washington resumed the talks on farm market access after nearly one third of U.S. House of Representatives members urged Japan last week to further open the market in a letter to President Barack Obama.
Japan and the United States are among the 12 countries working to strike the deal that would cover some 40 percent of global economic output. The others are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.