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Japan may compromise in TPP farm trade talks

2014-02-18 11:34 Xinhua Web Editor: qindexing

Akira Amari, Japan's minister in charge of the Trans- Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade talks, said on Tuesday that Japan may make concessions over sensitive farm products' tariffs, local media reported.

The TPP negotiations will never make progress "if there is no change at all," Amari told a press conference, "I guess no one thinks that all tariff lines will be in status quo."

He also suggested that Japan may reduce or abolish some of the tariffs on a total of 586 items in five groups of farm products.

Tokyo and Washington began bilateral working-level talks here on Tuesday over the TPP. The two sides remain deadlocked over how to deal with tariffs on the five groups -- rice, wheat, beef and pork, dairy products and sugar.

According to government data, around 40 percent of the items in the five categories have never previously been subject to tariff cuts under any free trade pacts attained by Japan, though the U.S.- led TPP aims at scrapping all tariffs.

Ministers from the 12 Pacific Rim countries in the TPP talks are scheduled to gather in Singapore on Saturday in a bid to conclude the ambitious trade deal after they missed a 2013 deadline.

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