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Update on TPP, Australia’s FTA Talks with Japan

Speaking March 18 at an economic forum, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman offered an update on the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. Froman downplayed the notion that the agricultural market access issues holding up the TPP are merely between the U.S. and Japan, noting that all TPP countries are looking to Japan to open its markets.

Froman also reiterated that the Obama Administration is working to build support in Congress for legislation extending presidential trade promotion authority. More details from Froman’s remarks are available from The Hill.

Meanwhile Australian Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb confirmed in a Wall Street Journal interview that Australia is nearing a free trade agreement with Japan. Robb said that “within months” Australia hopes to be the first major agricultural nation to enter an FTA with Japan.

Citing an unnamed source, the article stated that Japan has agreed to reduce its 38.5 percent tariff on Australian chilled beef, but does not provide further details. The full article is available online, but a Wall Street Journal subscriber login is required.