ATLANTA – Talks on the ambitious Pacific free-trade treaty were extended again to Monday as they remained bogged down especially in differences over international dairy trade.
A US trade official said plans for a press conference expected to announce a deal on the 12-nation talks late Sunday were cancelled, though he gave no reason.
The official said nearly all outstanding issues had been dealt with, and that the negotiators were just completing details and reviewing the lengthy draft pact.
But various people close to the talks said New Zealand's demands for greater market access in a number of countries continued to slow progress in the final negotiations.
Trade ministers and other top officials from the 12 countries have been negotiating around the clock since Wednesday hoping to close the deal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would be the world's largest free-trade zone.
Earlier in the day, Japan's Economy Minister Akira Amari said he was expecting a deal "in principle" to be announced Sunday afternoon.
Amari told Japanese journalists that there had been "major progress" Sunday morning and that a solution had been found to the main road block to a deal, how to protect developers of biologic drugs, which saw the United States and Australia sharply divided on the issue.
"We are making preparations now to announce a deal in principle this afternoon," he said, according to a translation of his remarks supplied by Japanese journalists. -AFP