The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks have stalled over export barriers

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Australian Minister for Trade Andrew Robb. Photo: Lukas Coch – Pool/ Getty Images.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade talks have stalled amid reports that some countries have walked away from the $200 billion deal.

The TPP meeting in Hawaii kicked off earlier this week with trade ministers from 12 Pacific rim countries including Australia and the US aiming to increase investment opportunities and lower trade barriers.

Australia’s Trade Minister, Andrew Robb, yesterday said the deal was “80% complete” and that an agreement could be reached 24 hours.

But issues such as trade barriers to dairy exports and monopoly periods for next-generation drugs have reportedly halted negotiations.

Earlier this week, the US — which initiated the TPP — refused to break down trade barriers unless Canada also opens its markets, according to the ABC.

Australian dairy farmers called out the US, describing it as a “backflip” which undermined access to US markets. New Zealand also said it wouldn’t support a deal which did not significantly open dairy markets.

The US has also refused to increase its quota for sugar cane imports — which accepts 100,000 tonnes each year — from Australian farmers who want to boost this to more than 500,000 tonnes.

Other red-line issues high on the agenda for Australia this week included access to US sugar markets, patent protection and international legal dispute settlements.

“Australia had made some excellent progress but unfortunately some difficult issues were not resolved,” a spokesperson for Robbs said.

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