Ag Policy Blog

TPP Talks Close to a Deal, But Not There Yet

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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Late Sunday afternoon promised some disruption of the usual NFL fare as a media alert from the U.S. Trade Representative's Office touted a press conference to close out the Trans-Pacific Partnership ministerial meeting in Atlanta.

The press conference was expected to announce that an agreement had been reached in the 12-country trade pact. This was going to be some surprising news on a Sunday.

It appears, however, that someone jumped the gun -- at least for Sunday.

In a gesture symbolic of the overall TPP talks, negotiators had a video press conference scheduled to announce an agreement only to delay it. At first, press event was delayed a couple of hours. Then it became "delayed pending further notice," as the posting was stated on the U.S. Trade Representative's website.

Later in the evening the negotiators officially canceled the presser until a possible Monday announcement.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership includes the U.S., Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

The USTR states theTPP countries accounted for $58 billion in U.S. agricultural exports in 2013 out of a total of $148 billion, the TPP countries accounted for $58 billion. USTR states high tariffs, such as a 40% tariff for poultry exports to Malaysia, would be eliminated under the trade deal.

Reports out of the trade talks Sunday focused on the battle between the U.S. and some other trade partners over how long to offer patent protection on pharmaceutical drugs. The U.S. gives companies 12 years for those patent rights, but Australia and others have balked at giving drug companies that length of time, as Reuters reported.…

Canadian Press reported dairy access was still also a lingering issue on Sunday. New Zealand wants greater access to sell more dairy in the U.S., but U.S. negotiators were unwilling to further open the market until Canada and Mexico do the same for U.S. dairy products. Until now, Canada has balked at dealing with dairy because of the country's supply management system for dairy, eggs and poultry products.…

Australian Trade Minister Andrew Robb told reporters there was a 50-50 chance TPP would be done on Sunday. He cited the pharmaceutical situation as the major complication.…

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