Pacific Rim trade ministers failed to clinch a deal on Friday to free up trade between a dozen nations after a dispute flared up over auto trade betweenJapan and North America, New Zealand dug in over dairy trade and no agreement was reached on monopoly periods for next-generation drugs.

Trade ministers from the 12 nations negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would stretch from Japan to Chile and cover 40 percent of the world economy, fell just short of a deal at talks on the Hawaiian island of Maui but were confident an agreement was within reach.

“The undergrowth has been cleared away in the course of this meeting in a manner that I would say is streets ahead of any of the other ministerial meetings that we have had,” New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser said.

“You can see clearly that there are one or two really hard issues, and one of them is dairy.”

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