After two days of intense negotiations last week, the U.S. and Japan failed to reach an agreement on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement during President Barack Obama’s visit with Prime Minister Shinzō Abe in Tokyo. 

In a joint statement the two countries said they “have identified a path forward on important bilateral TPP issues” and “there is still much work to be done to conclude TPP.” 

The major issue to be resolved is market access for agriculture and automobiles.  

Prior to President Obama’s trip to Japan, over 60 Congressmen urged the administration to continue to press Japan to eliminate tariff and non-tariff trade barriers for U.S. agricultural products as part of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations. 

The letter organized by Congressmen Adrian Smith (R-NE), Ron Kind (D-WI), Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), and Jim Costa (D-CA), stated the members’ concern that Japan had not made a comprehensive offer on market access for agricultural goods. 

Japan has been seeking exclusion from the agreement for “sensitive” products, beef, pork, dairy, rice, and wheat. 

The letter stated that excluding certain products from the agreement “could undermine the careful balance of concessions that the other eleven economies have achieved. If Japan is allowed exemptions, other TPP countries could demand similar treatment, and the entire agreement would be at risk of unraveling.” 

The TPP negotiations include the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.  These countries represent nearly 40 percent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product.