U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman deflected questions today about whether a finalized Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)  would be announced during the President’s upcoming trip through Asia in April, according to a report today from Politico Pro.  “We’re very much focused on the substance of negotiations.  We’re not setting any deadlines — we’re going to let the substance of negotiations determine the timetable,  Froman said at the Atlantic’s Economic Summit.

Froman did say that the ongoing dispute regarding Japan opening its agricultural sector remains an obstacle to finishing negotiations, saying that the United States and Japan have made progress but “the gaps still remain.”  Froman did point out that the issues with Japan is not just a concern of the United States.  “What was absolutely clear from our last several rounds of negotiations is that all the other countries are also looking to Japan to open its market and view that as a critical part of moving forward.”

It appears agricultural issues remain center stage in the negotiations.  “The fact that we don’t have a TPP agreement right now is in fact tied to the fact that we’re insisting on agricultural access both in Japan and Canada,”  Froman said.