(Asahi: July 30, 2015 – p. 7)
By Shigeo Ohata, Daisuke Igarashi in Maui, Hawaii
The ministerial meeting of the 12 nations participating in the TPP talks started in Maui, Hawaii on the afternoon of July 28 (afternoon of July 29, Japan time).
TPP Minister Akira Amari told reporters after the meeting: “We shared the common goal of reaching a basic agreement in this meeting.” He indicated his expectation for a deal by the last day of the meeting on July 31.
USTR Michael Froman, who chaired the meeting, called on his colleagues to “set the course for a solution in the next few days” in his opening remarks. However, Amari stated after the meeting that forward movement was yet to be seen in the main sticking point of data protection period for new drugs under intellectual property.
Amari also met with Froman before the ministerial meeting was held. The main issue between the two countries is Japan’s quota for U.S. rice imports of up to 70,000 tons. Amari said that they “were not able to reach an agreement” in this meeting and that “it will be necessary to talk a few more times.” (Abridged)