28 Jul 2012

Slow TPP negotiations don't bother Trade Minister

7:45 pm on 28 July 2012

Trade Minister Tim Groser says the apparent lack of progress in the TransPacific Partnership trade talks is not a big concern to him.

The 13th round of negotiations between the nine countries currently in the talks wrapped up in San Diego earlier this month.

The American hosts had hoped to have the 10 least contentious chapters, out of a total of 24, completed by the end of the San Diego round, but only one has been done.

Trade sources say negotiators now face an uphill battle to get a deal done any time soon, with the more contentious intellectual property and market access chapters still in the starting blocks.

But Mr Groser says in about 10 or 11 of the negotiating groups the leaders are reporting back to each country's chief negotiator that they can see a way to very quickly resolve the issues, once outcomes are known in some linked issues.

He says the problem in any trade negotiations is that countries do not want to lose their point of leverage until they know there is a trade-off in some other part of the negotiations.