TPP talks in Atlanta prolonged for remaining divergences hinh anh 1Trade ministers from Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) member countries attending the round of talks (Source: Reuters)


Trade ministers from Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) member countries attending the round of talks in Atlanta, Georgia, the US have decided to extend their negotiations to October 5 (US time), aiming to reach a final agreement for the world largest free trade agreement.

Negotiators agreed to prolong the duration of the talks, which was originally scheduled for five days beginning on September 30 (US time), because they have yet to solve outstanding differences before finalising the historical agreement.

During the negotiations, participants concurred with the decision to remove barriers for automotive component imports into North American markets, which was a thorny issue in earlier TPP negotiations.

They also found common ground on the duration of patent protections for new-generation drugs as the US and Australia, which had cutthroat arguments about the issue, finally arrived at a compromise.

However, issues related to the US and Canada opening their markets to dairy products from New Zealand resurfaced, bringing the negotiations to a deadlock.

The US said it will only open the door for New Zealand’s dairy products if Canada also follows suit. However, Canada’s policy aims to limit dairy products imports in order to protect the domestic milk industry as New Zealand is demanding a market share greater than 10 percent in Canada, critically slowing the progress of the final negotiations.

TPP countries began the ministerial talks in Atlanta with the hope of closing the deal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership after failing to reach a final deal on the pact in Hawaii in last July.

Negotiations on the trade pact were launched in 2005 between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.

Once signed, the TPP will become a free trade region of 800-million people, accounting for 30 percent of global trade and about 40 percent of the world’s economy.-VNA