U.S. and Japanese officials will meet again next week in Australia to try to resolve outstanding agricultural and automotive issues blocking conclusion of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) pact, a senior U.S. official said today in Tokyo.

“We were encouraged by the progress we made this week during our negotiations, but we need to underscore that the negotiations before us are tough,” Wendy Cutler, acting deputy U.S. trade representative, said on Wednesday in Tokyo at the end of four days of talks.  “The issues range from achieving meaningful market access across all agricultural products to establishing a strong and effective dispute settlement mechanism in the automotive sector.”

TPP participants view a successful outcome between the United States and Japan as critical to the broader Asia-Pacific trade talks. The next round of U.S.-Japan negotiations will take place in Canberra, Australia, where chief negotiators from all 12 TPP countries are meeting ahead of a TPP ministers meeting in Sydney from October  25-27.

President Obama, in a phone call Tuesday evening with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, stressed the need for countries to show political courage to reach a deal in talks on the TPP.  “President Obama and Prime Minister Abe agreed on the economic and strategic importance of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and the President stressed the need to be bold in order to achieve their shared vision of a more prosperous and integrated Asia-Pacific region,” the White House said in a statement.

Obama, Abe, and other TPP leaders are expected to discuss the negotiations when they are in Beijing from November 10-11 for the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.