Trans-Pacific trade ministers say progress made but issues remain

SINGAPORE Tue Feb 25, 2014 1:56am EST

New Zealand's Trade Minister Tim Groser speaks at the Asia-Pacific Business Symposium in Honolulu, Hawaii November 10, 2011. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

New Zealand's Trade Minister Tim Groser speaks at the Asia-Pacific Business Symposium in Honolulu, Hawaii November 10, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Yuriko Nakao

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SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Ministers in 12-nation Trans-Pacific trade talks said on Tuesday they have made progress trying to finalize 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 signaled 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.

(Reporting by Rachel Armstrong and Masayuki Kitano; Editing by Paul Tait)

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