After a week of meetings on the Trans Pacific Partnership, trade ministers from a dozen nations left Hawaii last weekend with issues still unresolved but USTR Michael Froman says they remain optimistic.
“We have made significant progress and will continue work on resolving a limited number of remaining issues,” said Froman, reading a joint statement from the ministers at the closing press conference of the talks. “Ministers and negotiators leave Hawaii committed to build on the momentum of this meeting by staying in close contact as negotiators continue their intensive engagement to find common ground.”
One of the biggest remaining issues to resolve is in dairy, according to New Zealand’s Trade Minister Tim Groser. “In every negotiation where I have been involved over the last 30 years, dairy is always either the last issue or one of the last two issues to be resolved because it has been so distorted for so many years,” said Groser. “But I am extremely confident that we will find that sweet spot and advance the interests of efficient dairy exporters around the world, not just mine, and yet find a way of dealing with political complexities of those around this table who are less competitive.”
No date has yet been set for further negotiations.
Listen to some of the closing TPP press conference, including remarks by Froman, Groser, and Australian Trade Minister Andrew Robb: Hawaii TPP Talks Closing Press