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Japan brushes aside possibility of further concessions in TPP talks

2013-12-02 08:41 Xinhua Web Editor: qindexing

Akira Amari, Japan's minister in charge of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade negotiations of Japan, brushed aside on Sunday the possibility of making further concessions to the United States on sensitive issues.

"We had a very tense discussion on outstanding issues, but we reached no conclusion," the minister for economic and fiscal policy told reporters after meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman in Tokyo.

The two countries held a meeting on the day, focusing especially on the issue of how to deal with tariffs on farm products, but the meeting ended without progress, local media reported.

The talks came in the lead-up to a ministerial meeting scheduled on Dec. 7 to 10 in Singapore.

While the 12 Pacific Rim negotiating countries are aiming to reach a deal by year-end, it is uncertain whether the deadline can be met as differences between Japan and the United States remain as one of the biggest hurdles.

Japan wants to retain tariffs it imposes on five farm product categories including rice, while the United States aims to abolish all tariffs. Both the United States and other negotiating countries are urging Japan to further open up its agricultural market.

Japan's Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told reporters following the meeting that Japan has done its utmost to make concessions on tariffs related to products that the United States regards as sensitive, urging Washington to show " flexibility" on contentious issues.

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