TPP talks near conclusion in Atlanta as dairy, auto, IP issues are sorted out

Japan’s minister responsible for the TPP negotiations, Akira Amari, has warned that failure to reach a deal in Atlanta could delay an agreement for years. “In order not to let the TPP negotiations drift about for another year or more, we want to make it the last ministerial session,” Amari said.

“It goes without saying that there would be no ministerial this week if there hadn’t been substantial progress in side talks,” a trade analyst said. “The TPP countries at the table are all-in and committed to finalizing the deal in short order.”

Orrin Hatch, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee and co-author with Senator Ron Wyden of the Trade Promotion Authority, sent a sharp warning to the Administration.

“No one — at least no one from our side of the negotiations — should be in a hurry to close talks if it means getting a less-than-optimal result for our country…. If the agreement falls short, I will not support it.

Dairy compromise … linked to auto sector

“If Canada were to make some concessions on the rules of origins for autos, then the demands coming back from the United States on dairy would be softened. I don’t think they would be eliminated, but I do think it would be enough to get to some kind of agreement,” Warner said.

Fast’s strong denials last weekend that Canada would offer the market access the U.S. asked for — 10 per cent of Canada’s consumption — suggests Canada won’t go too far with its offer, Warner said.

This week’s talks may not finish sorting out what countries get exactly what dairy imports. Import penetration is already at 6.3 per cent for cheese (more if the Canada-Europe trade deal is ratified), 10 per cent for butter and 10 per cent for milk powder.

“Our trading partners would just like to see us move. I don’t think we have to go the full distance,” Warner said, adding that some would be happy enough to see a shift in Canada’s “architecture.”

That “architecture” shift shakes the so-called pillars of the supply management system: production control, price-setting and import control. But planning is underway for a multibillion-dollar transition program to help that happen gradually.

Canadian Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said the federal government will compensate Canadian farmers for any losses resulting from a TPP deal.

A re-elected Conservative government would maintain “the pillars of supply management,” Mr. Ritz said, but he did not rule out allowing more imports as Canada did in the EU agreement.

Rules of origin in auto sector

To stay tariff free under NAFTA, auto parts needed 60% North American content, and an assembled vehicle had to contain 62.5% NAFTA content. The U.S. and Japan now suggest 30% for parts and 45% for vehicles.

Two major Canadian auto-parts employers support the deal: Rob Wildeboer from Martinrea and Linda Hasenfratz‎ from Linamar Corp.

As well, the 60% rule is “silly to defend,” Warner said. “It was linked to a footprint for the automotive industry in southwestern Ontario that no longer exists … our industry has been cut in half.”

Concluding the TPP and Congressional approval

Japan’s minister responsible for the TPP negotiations, Akira Amari, has warned that failure to reach a deal in Atlanta could delay an agreement for years. “In order not to let the TPP negotiations drift about for another year or more, we want to make it the last ministerial session,” Amari said.

NZ Agricultural Trade Envoy said trade ministers were needed at the table if the talks were to be successfully concluded. “There’s still some work to do in automobiles, biologics and IP, and around dairy obviously in New Zealand’s case. We need ministers to make the hard calls on those areas, and we’re hopeful they can do so over the next couple of days.” NZ’s Trade Minister Tim Groser will attend. He had previously said that offers to open up access to dairy products were completely inadequate, and he would only go if progress had been made by officials.

Trade analyst Sean West of the Eurasia Group said. “It goes without saying that there would be no ministerial this week if there hadn’t been substantial progress in side talks,” he said. “The TPP countries at the table are all-in and committed to finalizing the deal in short order.”

Orrin Hatch, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee and co-author with Senator Ron Wyden of the Trade Promotion Authority, sent a sharp warning to the Administration.

“No one — at least no one from our side of the negotiations — should be in a hurry to close talks if it means getting a less-than-optimal result for our country…. If the agreement falls short, I will not support it. If you look at the bipartisan coalition that supported our TPA bill, you should get a pretty good sense of the balance it will take to get enough support here in the Senate and over in the House. Put simply, if TPP does not reflect that balance, it is hard to see how it will be successfully enacted into law”

And in a memo last week to other House members, Michigan Rep. Sander Levin listed a dozen major unresolved issues in areas ranging from labor and the environment to currency and state-owned enterprises.

Read more …

TPP ministers back at table as Canada preps final offer, Sep 30, 2015

Canada’s trade minister pushing for TPP deal at Atlanta talks, Sep 30, 2015

Final-stretch talks on huge TPP deal open in Atlanta, Oct 1, 2015

TPP chief negotiators see progress in Atlanta talks, Sep 30, 2015

TPP: NZ Trade Minister heads to “wrap-up” meeting, Sep 30, 2015

Hatch: Asia-Pacific Trade Deal Must Meet Requirements of Bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority, Sep 29, 2015

 

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