Japan’s minister in charge of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade negotiations said Friday he will address sensitive issues including Japan’s tariffs on key farm products when he meets U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman in Tokyo on Sunday.
“Unless Japan and the United States make rough preparations for sensitive issues, it would be very difficult to deal with everything” during a TPP ministerial meeting in Singapore slated for Dec. 7-10, Akira Amari said in a press conference.
Amari added talks with Froman will be important in setting the stage for the ministerial meeting, which is expected to be the last opportunity for the 12 negotiating members to try to achieve the goal of securing a deal by the year-end.
While the U.S.-led TPP aims for abolition of all tariffs, Japan has been reluctant to scrap tariffs on five farm product categories including rice as it tries to protect the country’s agriculture from an influx of inexpensive products.
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