“We believe we are on track” to have a TPP deal, Canada’s Trade Minister Ed Fast

Canada’s Trade Minister Ed Fast said, “Canada is prepared to negotiate, to stay here until we have a deal. We believe we are on track to do so.” NZ Dairy Assn: “We won’t get everything we want, but in the end we’ve got to be reasonable.” U.S. Congressional trade leaders send letter to USTR asking for close consultations so that the deal will be approved by Congress. Companies, business associations, and four Canadian provincial agricultural ministers converge on Atlanta as the TPP conclusion appears near.

Froman Colgate Mattress (1)

USTR Froman takes a break from negotiations to visit Colgate Mattress Company in Atlanta.

While auto parts and dairy products have been the focus of attention, many Canadian industries are enthusiastic about the TPP: mining, seafood, pork, beef, and the Canada-based global auto-parts companies. The Canadian beef industry predicts exports to Japan could potentially triple if tariffs fall as reported in the Japanese media.

In Quebec and Ontario, the concerns of dairy farmers have received widespread media coverage. Those two provinces also happen to produce more than half of Canada’s hogs. And the pork producers are delighted.

Martin Rice of the Canadian Pork Council predicted that joining the TPP would increase the $1 billion in pork exports to Japan by more than 30 per cent within four years.

The countries are hoping to strike a deal. Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand chairman Malcolm Bailey said dairy was one of the most protected parts of world trade and that New Zealand had certain expectations that it would not negotiate on. “We won’t get everything that we want, but we’ve got to be reasonable on it,” he said.

He also said he wanted the Pharmac system to be looked after, but acknowledged that drugs companies needed to have enough capital to develop new drugs.

Negotiators on Thursday closed in on a final agreement on an expansive ­Asia-Pacific trade deal, while U.S. congressional trade leaders cautioned that the accord should not be rushed to completion, because of fears that a subpar deal could lose support among lawmakers.

The negotiations, however, remained complicated by several sticking points, including differences over the length of IP protections on pharmaceutical drugs, market access for dairy and sugar products, and rules governing where automobiles are manufactured. A new flash point emerged Thursday over an Obama administration proposal to restrict the ability of tobacco companies to access a proposed international dispute settlement panel.

Congressional trade leaders sent a letter demanding that the Obama administration immediately ramp up talks with lawmakers as negotiations on a massive Asia-Pacific agreement reach a critical stage.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), panel ranking member Sandy Levin (D-Mich.), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and the panel’s top Democrat, Ron Wyden (Ore.), said “we expect you to intensify these consultations and coordination immediately” on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

If officials aren’t ready to wrap up work on the TPP this week in Atlanta, the lawmakers suggested top trade officials take a step back before proceeding.

“We urge you to take the time necessary to get the best possible deal for the United States working closely with us and with stakeholders to resolve the many outstanding issues in these critically important negotiations,” they wrote in the letter.

“If you are unable to obtain an agreement that is consistent with the standards we have set out , we would support continuing negotiations so that TPP meets the benchmark that Congress can support.”

House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas, and 15 other members of his committee said in a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman on Thursday that they were “deeply concerned over the lack of meaningful market access in key markets for America’s rice farmers, and we are also deeply concerned by the lack of movement and transparency with respect to meaningful new, balanced market access for our nation’s dairy farmers.” The letter also warned against “undermining U.S. sugar policy.”

The United States proposed this week to bar tobacco companies from using special trade tribunals to sue or threaten countries that passed antismoking laws, hoping to remove one roadblock to what would be the largest regional trade agreement in history.

Companies declined to comment on the provision on Thursday, saying it was not final. A group of business trade organizations, including the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement this week it would oppose “a wide range of product and industry exclusions from core rules.”

Read more …

TPP: ‘We believe we are on track’ toward a trade deal, Canada’s envoy says, The Canadian Press, Oct 1, 2015

Lawmakers press for farm benefits in Pacific trade deal, Agri-Pulse, Oct 1, 2015
TPP: 3rd day of negotiations likely, Oct 1, 2015

Negotiators signal they’re close to final TPP agreement, Washington Post, Oct 1, 2015

Trade leaders demand White House ramp up talks on TPP, The Hill, Oct 1, 2015

U.S. proposes provision on tobacco in TPP, NYTimes, Oct 1, 2015

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