(Asahi: July 29, 2015 – p. 5)
By Hitoshi Kujiraoka in Maui Island (Hawaii)
Regarding the TPP talks by chief negotiators that ended on July 27, Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Minister Akira Amari said to reporters: “They seemed to be conducting very tough negotiations. As a result, I got the impression that significant progress was made.” Although he refrained from explaining individual items, he expressed the view that there is growing momentum for reaching a broad agreement by July 31, the target set by Japan, the United States and other countries.
With regard to bilateral negotiations on tariffs, Amari said that Canada “has started using specific bargaining chips with a sense of urgency.”
As for intellectual property, which is the most serious pending issue, Amari explained that “the negotiations are running into difficulties.” The issue will be discussed further at the ministerial talks scheduled to start in Hawaii on July 28.
Regarding Japan-U.S. talks on tariffs on rice and automobiles, Amari indicated the possibility that the negotiations will not go smoothly, saying: “The issue will not be resolved in one meeting. I feel that multiple rounds of talks will be necessary. We may have to hold negotiations until the very last minute.” (Slightly abridged)