As rumors swirl about the location and date of the concluding TPP negotiations, at the U.S. General Assembly in Sep, or at the APEC Economic Leaders meeting in Nov, Trade Minister Tim Groser says he remains 90 per cent sure that the negotiations will be completed this year. Only three issues to be resolved: IP in pharmaceuticals, dairy, and the auto industry.
“There is no formal timetable, but as I have now been arguing for a long time, the absence of a formal timetable is essentially irrelevant,” Groser told business leaders at a Business Growth Agenda event in Auckland this morning. “Formal timetables are themselves, in my opinion, not worth the paper they are written on.”
What did matter, he said, was the “informal consensus” and the only areas that remained to be resolved were issues around intellectual property in pharmaceuticals, dairy and the automotive industry.
“Everything else is pretty clear where the landing zone is,” Groser said. “When we have the right basis for taking some quite tough political decisions in those three areas … then we will get this over the line.”
Groser said completion of the deal was “enormously important” to US President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, as well as being “a huge prize” for New Zealand and Australia.
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