Japan wants N.Z. to make realistic offer on dairy goods

Tokyo | Reuters –– Japan wants New Zealand to offer realistic proposals on dairy products as part of 12-nation talks on a pan-Pacific trade agreement, a Japanese negotiator said Tuesday.

Ministers failed last Friday to clinch a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal to free up trade after a dispute flared up over auto trade between Japan and North America, New Zealand dug in its heels over dairy trade and gaps remained over monopoly periods for next-generation drugs.

“Japan will continue talks with New Zealand if it seriously intends to search for compromise for dairy products,” the negotiator, who is familiar with farm product talks, told Reuters. “Every TPP nation is conducting realistic talks. Only New Zealand has not said what it really means.”

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The Japanese negotiator also said the next TPP ministerial meeting should only be held when it is certain that remaining issues can be resolved. Failure at the next meeting could doom prospects for agreement, he said.

“The next ministerial meeting has to be held based on a situation in which success can be achieved,” he said. “If the next TPP ministerial meeting fails, each nation will lose its willingness to continue and TPP could go adrift.”

Japanese Economy Minister Akira Amari said in Hawaii on Friday that his understanding was that the ministers aimed to get together again by the end of August.

The negotiator, however, did not rule out a possible meeting in September although he added a meeting this month would be better if there were concrete prospects for a broad agreement.

Kaori Kaneko reports for Reuters from Tokyo.

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