Thursday, February 27, 2014

No agreement on the TPP

Many people are celebrating the lack of agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership after four days of negotiations in Singapore.

It's clear that support for such a massive free trade agreement involving 12 countries is waning as some of the individual countries see little value for their own economies.  Major sticking points concern market access and differences over tariffs on imported goods.

Negotiators had initially hoped that a draft agreement would emerge from the talks and that a deal would be ready in April.

But arguments over the issues of tariffs on specific goods have proved difficult to overcome.

Agricultural tariffs are particularly sensitive for Japan, which is trying to protect its rice, wheat, beef and pork as well as dairy and sugar, from outside competition.

Some other TPP members (such as Australia) with large agricultural production available for export, are pushing for the elimination of all tariffs. Industries in some countries would be decimated by the complete removal of tariffs.

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