Trans-Pacific trade ministers say progress made but issues remain

Trade ministers and representatives attend the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Ministerial Meeting in Singapore on February 22, 2014. Trade Ministers and officials from the 12 TPP countries - Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, the US, Vietnam and Singapore have convened in the meeting.

SINGAPORE - Ministers in 12-nation Trans-Pacific trade talks said on Tuesday they have made progress trying to finalise a deal during a four-day meeting in Singapore but several issues remain, particularly questions over market access. "While some issues remain, we have charted a path forward to resolve them"," said New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser, reading from a joint media release at the end of the meeting. "Market access" issues remain one of the main sticking points, the ministers said.

Ministers involved in the talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which aims to break down trade barriers across a wide range of sectors, had signalled ahead of the meeting that they were close to reaching a deal.

However, long-running differences on tariffs on imported goods, particularly between the United States and Japan, are proving to be particularly difficult to overcome.