Japan and the United States have failed to clinch a much-awaited bilateral agreement seen as crucial for working out a multilateral Pacific Rim free trade deal, both sides said Wednesday.
The lack of progress made by the two largest economies in the so-called Trans-Pacific Partnership initiative clouds the goal proposed by U.S. President Barack Obama of all 12 negotiating members reaching an agreement by November.
“We were unable to make further progress on the key outstanding issues,” said the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, referring to the agriculture and auto sectors, after a two-day meeting between Japanese economy minister Akira Amari and his U.S. counterpart, Trade Representative Michael Froman, in Washington.
“Both sides will consider next steps following consultations in both capitals,” it added.
Japan “made a proposal with flexibility, but we were not able to make further progress,” Amari, who is in charge of Japan’s TPP negotiations, told reporters separately.
“I had hoped (Japan’s new proposal) would lead (negotiations) to the next stage, but there was a gap in our discussions,” Amari said, describing what Tokyo offered as a “borderline.”