Japan supported by U.S. ag to join Pacific trade talks
Countries that have been talking seem to be fairly happy with the progress occurring without Japan.
The high goal of the TPP is for completing a comprehensive pact that covers not just trade in goods and services, but also foreign investment, government procurement, intellectual property rights and environmental and labor protections.
Even though agricultural import and export are sticking points in dealing with Japan, U.S. agricultural farm organizations were quick to support Japan’s entry into the negotiations—with stipulations.
The American Farm Bureau Federation in a statement issued by President Bob Stallman said, “As the fourth-largest U.S. agricultural export market, with nearly $14 billion in purchases in 2012. Japan is crucial to America’s farmers and ranchers. Both the United States and Japan will benefit from Japan being a TPP partner, and by sharing in improved sanitary and phytosanitary standards for agricultural trade and expanded market access with TPP nations.”
But Stallman did suggest the exclusions from negotiations such as agricultural products would be a mistake. “It’s important that new entrants to the TPP recognize this is a comprehensive agreement and that individual sectors should not be excluded from the negotiations.”
The USA Rice Federation also welcomed Prime Minister Abe’s announcement of joining the current 11 nations of the TPP, but also said agricultural products should not be excluded from negotiations. The federation noted that Japan ranks as the number two market for U.S. rice with $242 million of U.S. rice shipped to Japan in 2012. Even with restricted access for export, Japan has been around 9 percent of total U.S. rice exports in recent years.
Mark Denman, USA Rice chairman and a Texas rice miller, said, “Japan is a vital export market for U.S. rice. As the United States and other TPP partners consider Japan’s application, it must be clear that all products, including rice, be on the negotiating table as a condition for Japan’s entry into the trade negotiations.”
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