The 11 countries involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade negotiations began their 17th round of talks in Lima on Wednesday with the focus on whether exceptions should be made to the general rule of tariff elimination.
Even though Japan gained the unanimous backing of the members last month to become the 12th member of the talks, it cannot take part until the U.S. completes the 90-day notice required by Congress to admit it. The earliest Japan can join is expected to be the July round in Malaysia.
With Japan seeking to protect its rice and other sensitive agricultural products by retaining tariffs through the TPP negotiations, decisions by the existing members at the 10-day meeting could affect Tokyo’s plans for the talks. Decisions already made by TPP members are not renegotiable as countries aim to conclude a deal by the end of the year. Read more here.
Date: May 17, 2013