(Sankei: July 8, 2015 – p. 11)
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations are nearing its final phase. The 12 participating nations are coordinating to hold a chief negotiators’ meeting from July 23 and a ministerial meeting from July 28 in Hawaii. Working level Japan-U.S. talks will also resume in Tokyo on July 9.
Of the 31 chapters in the proposed TPP agreement, four chapters on intellectual property, state-owned enterprises, investment, and exceptions to provisions of legal systems are expected to need settlement by political decisions. Fierce maneuvering is expected up to the last minute before a basic agreement can be reached.
The chief negotiators’ meeting from July 23 will narrow down the remaining issues for them to be settled by political decisions to be made at the ministerial meeting. Although the plan is for the ministerial meeting to be held for two days until July 29, a source on the talks speculates that “there is a possibility that this may be delayed to early August if negotiations take longer.”
Canada, which is taking a cautious stance because a general election is approaching, and New Zealand, which is insisting on its position, may delay the overall negotiations. TPP Minister Akira Amari says that, “We hope these two countries will show their cards with a sense of urgency that time is running out.” (Abridged)