The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has come a long way since it began almost 10 years ago.
Initially the Trans-Pacific Strategic Partnership Agreement, it has grown to become an ambitious regional free trade agreement that is currently being negotiated by the 12 countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region (Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States and Vietnam).
Member countries set the goal of wrapping up negotiations in 2012 but contentious issues such as agriculture, intellectual property, and services and investments have caused negotiations to be unfinished.
The TPP is aimed at enhancing trade and investment among the TPP partner countries, promote innovation, economic growth and development, and support the creation and retention of jobs. It is estimated in a recent article that New Zealand could benefit by up to $5 billion once the TPP has been signed.
Since its inception Federated Farmers has been supportive of the TPP being successfully completed. Our export growth in primary production has largely come about through the signing of Free Trade Agreements with some of our major trading partners, such as China.
We want the TPP to proceed as it will result in further meaningful liberalisation of agricultural trade through the elimination of trading barriers, such as subsides and tariffs.
The recent Hanoi round of talks in September alluded to Japan being resistant to meeting agreement criteria. Japan is viewed by other partners as being in a different space to everyone else and is likely to take some time to shift.
If they won't shift on tariffs it is up to Japan to propose an alternative method of delivering a comprehensive deal as initially agreed.
A key element of TPP being successful is the United States and Japan coming to an agreement on sticking points such as agricultural market access, intellectual properties and disciplines on state-owned enterprises.
The general view is that TPP is too important to both the United States and Japan to let it fail. At the time of writing, Ministers from 12 TPP negotiation states were meeting for three days in Sydney in the hope of ironing out the free trade accord.