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Japanese farmers fear that foreign imports could drive them out of business as the 12 members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) - who account for 40 percent of world trade - forge ahead on trade talks on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Indonesia. Officials from Japan, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam will meet on Tuesday with hopes of meeting a year-end deadline on reaching a basic agreement. Japan's dairy industry has long benefited from high tariffs, including a 360 percent tariff on butter, and 218 percent for non-fat milk powder. For dairy owner Shinshiro Ishibashi, an elimination of high tariffs on agriculture could be bad for business. Ishibashi says a TPP agreement, which seeks the elimination of such tariffs, would mean his family dairy business, would not be able to compete with low cost imports of dairy products made by large-scale dairies from abroad. An estimate from his local prefecture, Chiba, shows that if all tariffs were eliminated and no subsidies were provided, dairies there would suffer a drop of 2.62 (b) billion yen (26.8 (m) million US dollars) - the equivalent of the amount they currently produce. Ishibashi concedes that political pressure will likely make it difficult for the Japanese government to keep its promise of protecting key agricultural products, like rice, wheat, dairy, sugar and beef and pork meats. But he warns that opening up the market too much could be costly for local businesses. Ishibashi's dairy, which has 300 cows, uses a mix of US and Japanese grass feed, which in turn has helped local rice farms survive despite an aging population and shortage of labour. Major manufacturers and business lobby groups in Japan have backed the TPP, but Ishibashi believes that allowing low cost imports and increasing dependence on foreign foods would be risky, and leave Japan's food sustainability on the line. Complex hurdles remain both in reaching consensus among the 12 nations and in persuading citizens and businesses in each country that the agreement is in their national interest. The pact has been billed as a "21st century" trade agreement - an attempt not just to slash tariffs but also tackle non-tariff barriers to trade, while protecting labour rights. Hiromichi Shirakawa, managing director at Credit Suisse Securities Japan, says that while much remains uncertain on the direct benefits of the free trade on industries in Japan, the benefits of being part of the TPP would far outweigh not being part of the discussions. You can license this story through AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/metadata/youtube/596aaa8530f87a34253c68ccffdb77e3 Find out more about AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/HowWeWork