UPDATE 1-Pacific trade negotiators chase elusive final deal in tough talks

Fri Jul 31, 2015 12:05am EDT
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* TPP trade talks enter final day on Friday

* Dairy exports, medicines still major hurdles

* Final news conference scheduled for Friday 1930 ET (Adds comment from Japanese minister, Australian minister, detail on tobacco exclusion)

By Krista Hughes and Ami Miyazaki

LAHAINA, Hawaii, July 30 (Reuters) - Pacific Rim trade ministers neared the final spurt of negotiations on an ambitious free trade pact on Thursday, but differences over farm exports and monopoly periods for next-generation drugs kept them short of an elusive final deal.

Ministers from the 12 countries negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which would cut trade barriers and set common standards for 40 percent of the world economy, are meeting in Hawaii to try to hammer out a deal.

But major issues are still unresolved, including dairy exports and exclusivity periods for biologic drugs. The United States is pushing for 12 years but Australia and other countries worried about the impact on medicine prices want five.

"They are few but very contested," Mexican Trade Minister Ildefonso Guajardo told Reuters of the outstanding issues.

"I think that the negotiators will have to work through the night," Japanese Economy Minister Akira Amari said.   Continued...