Speaking at an agricultural conference shortly before leaving for
the next round of talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in
Singapore, he said negotiators were keen to resolve sticking points
to allow the talks to go forward.
"Concluding these ambitious negotiations will be challenging, but we
have never backed down from a challenge," he told the U.S.
Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Outlook Forum.
Froman said getting movement from Japan, which is reluctant to allow
more foreign competition in sensitive sectors such as rice, and
Canada, where the United States would like more access for dairy and
poultry, would be key aims in agriculture.
"At this stage, it's well known that the outstanding issues on
agricultural market access revolve generally around Japan and
Canada, and we are all working to try and work through those issues
with those parties so that we can move the negotiations forward,"
He also played down resistance in Congress to give the White House
authority to fast-track free trade deals, saying his focus was on
bringing back a good TPP deal and that would help build momentum for
so-called trade promotion authority.
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"I think our trading partners understand that," he said.
Countries negotiating the TPP, which would cover 40 percent of the
world economy, include Mexico, Chile, Peru, Australia, New Zealand
(Reporting by Krista Hughes)
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