LAHAINA, Hawaii – Australian Trade Minister Andrew Robb on Sunday (July 26) ratcheted up the pressure on Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries to reach a deal at their upcoming ministerial meeting here, saying failure to do so would likely delay an agreement for several years due to elections in the the United States and Canada.
[Reposted from Inside US Trade | July 27, 2015]
The talks in Hawaii “are very important, partly or mainly because of the political cycle in the U.S. and also an impending Canadian election,” Rob said in a radio interview with the Australian Broadcasting Company. “So if we don’t do it this week, things are going to be very difficult I think to conclude it within a couple of years.”
Robb, who has already arrived in Hawaii for the July 28-31 ministerial meeting, said TPP countries are “very close” to reaching a deal and down to the last few issues. “People do seem to have come with the mind to try and conclude it and I’m quite hopeful that by the end of the week we will have achieved an outcome which is going to be really the best trade deal since the Uruguay Round 20 years ago.”
He identified as major outstanding issues for Australia the length of data exclusivity for biologic drugs, along with some market access issues such as sugar and dairy. On biologics, Australia and other countries are pushing back against the U.S. demand for 12 years of data exclusivity, and sources here predicted TPP countries would ultimately settle on seven or eight years.
Meanwhile, Australia and its sugar industry are still pushing for greater access to the U.S. market, with the argument that such new access would not undermine the U.S. sugar program.
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