WASHINGTON – The latest ministerial meeting for a proposed 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership ended without a final deal being reached, although the delegates said significant progress was made.
On Friday, the New York Times said talks among the trade ministers had become bogged down on “a small number of final sticking points,” mentioning protections for drug companies and access to agriculture markets as problematic issues.
In a statement, the ministers said the July 24-31 gathering in Lahaina, Hawaii, had been “productive” and that they were leaving “committed to build on the momentum of this meeting by staying in close contact as negotiators continue their intensive engagement to find common ground.”
They did not set a date for their next meeting.
Australia, Chile and New Zealand continue to oppose the United States’ demand that major pharmaceutical companies’ intellectual property be protected for up to 12 years so they can recoup the cost of developing “next-generation biologic medicines,” the New York Times said.
Canada also is reluctant to open its poultry and dairy markets to foreign competition under the proposed agreement, while New Zealand, the world’s largest dairy exporter, wants expanded access to foreign markets for that domestic industry.
The daily called the lack of a final agreement a “setback” for the Obama administration.
Singapore, Chile, New Zealand, Brunei, the United States, Australia, Malaysia, Peru and Vietnam began TPP negotiations in 2010, and Canada, Mexico and Japan later joined the talks.