U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said on Monday that the gaps between Washington and Tokyo still remain after the bilateral talks during the recent round of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) ministerial meeting here.
"We discussed agricultural issues, and auto issues. Gaps remain, but our teams will be working together," said Froman after the meeting with Akira Amari, Japan's chief negotiator and minister in charge of the TPP on Monday.
The two sides will continue to meet to work and try to bridge the remaining gaps on all directions, Froman added.
It was the second time the two countries met together on ministerial level during this round of negotiation, "seeking to resolve outstanding issues of whether Japan can retain tariffs on its sensitive farm goods and the phase-out period of U.S. auto duties."
According to Kyodo, Akira Amari and Froman discussed the issues on Saturday as well, but they moved no closer.
The recent round of TPP talks carried on with its tradition of negotiating behind closed doors. The participants include trade ministers and representatives of 12 countries such as Singapore, the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru and Vietnam.
The TPP talks were initiated by Singapore, New Zealand, Chile and Brunei Darussalam in 2005, but dominated by the United States after it joined the talks in 2008. Japan joined the TPP talks last year.
Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry said the TPP is " envisioned as a high-quality and comprehensive trade agreement that will go beyond tariff elimination and other traditional trade issues to address emerging challenges faced by modern businesses."
The trade pact is believed to be able to have an impact on regional and world trade, as it involves preferential treatment based on the origin of goods.