By Rossella Brevetti
March 25 — Acting Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Wendy Cutler and Ambassador Hiroshi Oe of Japan will meet March 27-28 to continue Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) bilateral market access negotiations, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative announced March 24.
Negotiating teams from the U.S. and Japan will also hold several days of working-level meetings on market access, starting on March 26, USTR said. The high level and working level meetings will take place in Washington.
U.S.-Japan parallel negotiations on motor vehicle trade will also take place in Washington from March 31-April 1. Cutler and Ambassador Takeo Mori of Japan will lead these talks, USTR said.
“These negotiations are taking place in conjunction with the agreement between Ambassador Froman and Minister Amari of Japan to continue work to seek to narrow gaps between the United States and Japan in the TPP negotiations, with a particular focus on these two priority areas,” USTR said in its statement.
The U.S., Japan and 10 other Pacific Rim countries are participating in the TPP negotiations.
USTR Michael Froman said March 18 that the U.S. is insisting on agriculture market access from Japan and Canada prior to sealing a deal on the TPP. Froman said that, despite “ongoing engagement” with Japan, “gaps still remain.”.
Japan has sought exemptions from the TPP goal of tariff elimination in five product areas—meat, dairy, sugar, wheat and rice, covering 600 tariff lines. The details of Japan's latest offer remain confidential.
The 12 Pacific Rim countries engaged in the TPP negotiations also include: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
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The USTR statement can be accessed at http://www.ustr.gov/about-us/press-office/press-releases/2014/March/Acting-Deputy-USTR-Cutler-to-host-US-Japan-bilateral-meetings-on-TPP.
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