While no date has been set for the next ministerial-level round of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, a senior U.S. official stated this week that an announcement could come soon. Caroline Atkinson, a deputy national security adviser for economic affairs, told reporters that a concluding round of TPP talks may be held within the next few weeks, but only if substantial progress can be made on outstanding issues such as automobile assembly, dairy market access and intellectual property protection for biologic drugs. Japan’s TPP minister Akira Amari told Tokyo news outlets that he is also hoping for a ministerial meeting by the end of September, in order to avoid any potential setbacks stemming from Canada’s October general election.
Trade officials from the United States and Japan resumed bilateral automobile trade talks this week in Washington, D.C. Further progress in these negotiations is viewed as especially critical to completion of TPP. While in Washington, Japan’s negotiators also held working-level meetings with their counterparts from Canada and Mexico.