12 Dec 2012

Differences remain at end of TPP talks

11:26 pm on 12 December 2012

Big differences among the 11 countries involved in the TransPacific Partnership trade talks have not been bridged at the latest round of talks, which ended in Auckland on Wednesday.

A business group says progress needs to be stepped up if the deadline set down by United States President Barack Obama and other leaders last month is going to be met.

New Zealand's lead negotiator David Walker says progress was made at the week-and-a-half of talks behind closed doors at Auckland's Sky City.

He says differences among the countries involved in the talks remain in areas such as copyright and patent protections, as well as to what extent countries will drop tariffs on agricultural goods.

"We have been working to resolve a number of the more technical issues involved in those areas, and to more clearly frame up some of the substantive differences on more challenging issues that will need to be resolved as we look to bring negotiations to a conclusion."

The New Zealand-United States Council's Stephen Jacobi says if progress in these areas is not stepped up it will be difficult to get a deal done by the October 2013 deadline recently set byMr Obama and other leaders.