U.S., Japan seen near deal on Trans-Pacific Partnership entry

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The United States and Japan appear close to a deal to allow Tokyo into negotiations on a U.S.-led free-trade agreement in the Asia-Pacific region, U.S. private-sector industry and labor officials said on Thursday.

"It does certainly look like (they are) about to make that announcement," despite the objections of U.S. labor groups concerned about removing U.S. tariffs on Japanese cars and trucks, Thea Lee, deputy chief of staff at the AFL-CIO labor federation, told the Washington International Trade Association.

"I think at this point we're going to have to shift (strategies) and try to figure out, as Japan joins, that we are putting on the table all the things that are most important to us," Lee said.

Japan asked in March to join negotiations on the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership and is awaiting a formal decision by the 11 currently participating countries.

If the world's third largest economy is allowed into the negotiations, the final agreement would cover nearly 40 percent of world economic output.

Japanese Economics Minister Akira Amari said on Tuesday Japan and the Unites States were in the final stage of consultations about Japan joining the TPP.


TPP members will hold their 17th round of talks next month in Peru and hope to reach a deal this year.

With negotiations at such an advanced stage, Washington is looking for an "early harvest" of commitments from Tokyo in areas such as agriculture, insurance and autos to show that its entry will not slow the talks down.

One business source, speaking on condition he not be identified, said the United States and Japan were striving to reach a deal by the weekend.

That would allow the White House to give Congress 90-day notice that it plans to start trade negotiations in time for Japan to participate in the July round of TPP talks.

U.S. labor groups are worried about job losses in the auto sector if the United States agrees in the TPP talks to eliminate a 2.5 percent tariff on Japanese passenger cars and a 25 percent tariff on Japanese light trucks.

"This is a sector that was on death's door and then has seen a very strong recovery. What we don't want to do is enter into a trade agreement that will undermine the ability of the U.S. auto sector to create good jobs," Lee said.

Ford Motor Co also strongly opposes Japan's entry into the TPP, saying that Tokyo has not followed through on previous commitments to dismantle regulatory and other non-tariff barriers that block imports of foreign cars.

The Detroit-based automaker charges that Japan's market remains largely closed to imports even though Tokyo has no tariffs on foreign cars.

One possible way U.S. and Japanese officials could address U.S. auto sector concern is by agreeing to let the United States keep its auto and truck tariffs, or to phase them out over a long period of time.

But some U.S. business groups, such as the National Association of Manufacturers, worry that excluding any sector from tariff cuts will encourage other countries to try to protect their own sensitive sectors from market openings.

Such a "Swiss cheese approach ... will fail to achieve the needed growth-producing liberalization" and diminish the value of the pact, said Linda Dempsey, vice president for international economic affairs at the U.S. manufacturers group.

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U.S  |  April, 11, 2013 at 05:06 PM

Stops deceive Japan as if you are inviting TPP as a sweet treat to Japan!!!! TPP is global corporate take over disguised as trade deal!! And you are about to colonize Japan with your formidable political power and with your deceitful sweet tongue. People in Japan are very outraged of this deceit !!!! Japan has the most perfect hospital system in a world!!! We do not wish to have troublesome expensive U.S hospital system!!!!!! It is collapsing!!!!! There are too many who can not afford outrageously expensive medical bills!! It only make corporate richer, that is all, it won’t help Japan!! Satan and his followers get away from Japan!!! Why is it so secretive? Because it is a hideous crime against Japan and you want to hide your worst crime from your people, Japan and all over the world!! But you can't hide from God, the Father who has been forgotten from you. If you don't repent soon and stop this crime against Japan, may God's Justice befall on you soon, really soon but not on innocent people but you only!!!!

Arizona  |  April, 28, 2013 at 11:44 PM

Do you know from 1905 to 1945, Japanese killed over 20 millions of Asian, while Nazi killed only 6 millions? Of course there was no facebook or twitter at the time, so Westerners are ignorant about this fact? Do you do know there are over 250,000 forced Korean comfort women ( not even counting chinese, Philippines comfort women?) for Japanese soldiers' enjoyments? I thanks America for dropping atomic bombs to end this hideous war crimes. America gave two weeks to Jap emperor before atomic bombing, Jap refused surrender, so bombed them. Jap still refuse to apologize about the war crime to all the surrounding Asian nations ( including America pearl harbor). I just laugh at the Jap's arrogance and hypocrisy, still they try so hard to invade every corners of the earth ( Japs are famous for illegal whale hunting and illegal fishing in Arctic seas--never learn the lesson, so now have to invade seas..instead of nations.) Now I see Japanese -Americans gang up with Latinos, and color people to promote hatred and rebel toward America, saying encampment and atomic bombs are so inhumane. Isn't atomic bomb victims were more than 300,000 compared to 20 millions Asian that were killed by Japanese? How about the Japanese experiment camp in Shanghai brutally conducts bio and chemical experiments on over half million of pregnant and old and young? How far will Jap continue to be like cancer with lies and denials? I don't care whoever sees my comment and write back with another lies and denials, but one thing for sure: AS long as God lives, god doesn't bless perpetual liars and illegal, brutal activities. Sunamies and more earthquake may come till they repent and cry out for all the crimes they did to other nations and fish!


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