According to media reports, the latest and possibly last round of negotiations to finalise the 'last 2%' of the Trans-Pacific Partnership has been set for the week beginning 28 September 2015.
Trade Ministers from each of the negotiating states will meet in Atlanta to attempt to close out the deal after what can best be described as 'old-fashioned trade issues' (dairy and auto parts) held up final agreement during the last round of negotiations in August.
Since that date the parties most affected by these issues (Japan, US, Mexico and Canada) have been working hard to reach agreement.
The process that will now be followed is reportedly:
- Representatives from the United States, Canada, Mexico and Japan meet in San Francisco the week beginning 21 September 2015 to address disagreements over the auto sector (the hardest of the issues facing finalisation of the TPP).
- Chief negotiators meet in San Francisco on Saturday 26 September 2015.
- Trade Ministers from each of the negotiating states meet in Atlanta the week beginning 28 September 2015, with hopefully a positive announcement at the end of that meeting.
Reports over the last few weeks have indicated that another Ministerial meeting will not be called unless there is a high degree of confidence that the remaining issues can definitely be settled and agreed. All parties are very keen to resolve the issues before the Canadian election on 19 October 2015.
We are following developments in this long but important story and will bring you any news when it breaks.